The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has responded angrily after Hein Verbruggen complained to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Ethics Commission about four officials – claiming that the former cycling chief’s words were “outrageous” and “defamatory”.
Verbruggen, who led the International Cycling Union (UCI) as President between 1991 and 2005, has lodged complaints against former WADA chairman Richard Pound and its outgoing director general David Howman.
In addition, he has targeted United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive Travis Tygart and Bill Bock, an American lawyer who was a key man in the bringing down of shamed drug-cheat cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Verbruggen said WADA had subjected him to a “hate campaign” and that he had been wrongly accused of covering up a positive drug test recorded by Armstrong, who was stripped of seven Tour de France titles.
He is highly critical of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report – commissioned as part of efforts to address cycling’s crippling doping problem – which he described as a “biased, anti-Verbruggen report”.
WADA were also accused by the 74-year-old of ignoring other sports – such as athletics – in favour of a crackdown on cycling with Verbruggen claiming he had no avenue to contest accusations made against him.
In a statement, WADA strongly denied the Dutchman’s words and have asked the IOC to dismiss his complaints.
“Sir Craig Reedie, the President of WADA, is astonished by the complaint made by Hein Verbruggen to the IOC Ethics Commission, and made public, in respect to WADA’s former President and current IOC Representative on WADA’s Foundation Board, Dick Pound,” the statement read.
“The allegations in the complaint have no merit, are outrageous in their content and obviously defamatory.
“Reedie calls upon Mr Verbruggen to publicly retract his complaint immediately.
“Reedie also suggests to the IOC Ethics Commission that it dismiss his complaint as being totally without merit forthwith; and, consider conducting its own investigation into the malicious conduct of Mr. Verbruggen in relation to a member of the IOC.”
Verbruggen had threatened to sue the UCI over the CIRC report, which WADA were heavily involved with, but an agreement was signed with current President Brian Cookson to end legal proceedings.
The deal also saw him retain his role as Honorary Presidency of the governing body.
- By Dan Palmer
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz