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U.S. Olympic chiefs back WADA testing takeover

U.S. Olympic chiefs back WADA testing takeover

(Reuters) – An International Olympic Committee plan to hand over all drug testing to the World Anti-Doping Agency will have the support of the United States Olympic Committee, chairman Larry Probst said on Tuesday.

Following a report by the independent commission of WADA that uncovered systematic, state-sponsored doping inside Russian athletics and the sporting world bracing for another explosive report early next year, the IOC is looking at new approaches in the fight against the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

IOC president Thomas Bach has been pushing a plan that would see testing and results management taken away from sports organisations and handed over to WADA while bans and appeals would be handled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“President Bach has been very aggressive with his suggestion to move drug testing to WADA and adjudication to CAS and we are very supportive of that,” Probst said on a conference call following a USOC board meeting in New York.

“We think that is a good idea and we will do everything we can to be helpful and supportive.”

WADA said at its foundation board meeting last month in Colorado Springs that it would put a working group in place to look at the IOC plan and report to the WADA board in May.

The big question is who would pay for such a plan.

WADA currently operates on a budget of nearly $30 million with half coming from the IOC and half from world governments.

If WADA were to move from its current oversight role and take over global testing the organisation’s operational costs would skyrocket to well over $100 million, according to anti-doping experts.

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun believes it is something the U.S. government would be willing ante up on.

“They (U.S. government) will be on board once we can iron out some more of the details,” said Blackmun. “Conceptually having a global testing entity with adjudication system is a great idea.

“I think there are a lot of details associated with it that need to be determined before we get to a position of trying to persuade the people who are funding that today but conceptually we are 100 percent behind it.

“This isn’t just a U.S. issue it is a global issue.”

(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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