IOC to re­move it­self from dop­ing cases in Rio

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

In a ma­jor change in the han­dling of pos­i­tive drug tests at the Olympics, the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) is set to re­move it­self from the process and have a group of in­de­pen­dent sports ar­bi­tra­tors rule on dop­ing cases dur­ing the games in Rio de Janeiro, of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the plans told me­dia.

The change is ex­pected to be ap­proved by the IOC's ex­ec­u­tive board on Tues­day, three of­fi­cials told the AP. They spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the plan had not yet been for­mally adopted.

The move is in­tended to make the pros­e­cu­tion of dop­ing cases more in­de­pen­dent by tak­ing it away from the IOC and putting it in the hands of a spe­cial panel of the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport (CAS).

Un­der cur­rent rules, dop­ing cases dur­ing the Olympics are dealt with by a spe­cial IOC dis­ci­plinary panel ap­pointed by the IOC pres­i­dent. The panel sched­ules hear­ings with ath­letes who test pos­i­tive and de­cides on sanc­tions. Most ath­letes who test pos­i­tive dur­ing the Olympics are dis­qual­i­fied, ex­pelled from the games and stripped of any medals.

Un­der the new pro­posal, pos­i­tive cases would go di­rectly to a small group of spe­ciallyap­pointed CAS ar­bi­tra­tors on site. They would hold hear­ings and is­sue rul­ings with­out IOC in­volve­ment.

Any ap­peal against the ar­bi­tra­tors' de­ci­sion would be heard by a sep­a­rate CAS divi­sion, which al­ready han­dles el­i­gi­bil­ity and other dis­putes at the Olympics.

The CAS is a Swiss-based body cre­ated by the IOC that is con­sid­ered the high­est court in deal­ing with sports dis­putes.

The change for the Olympics was stud­ied by the CAS and IOC lawyers and came to­gether quickly. It was be­ing sub­mit­ted for for­mal ap­proval to the IOC's rul­ing ex­ec­u­tive board later Tues­day. The move is part of IOC pres­i­dent Thomas Bach's ef­forts to make drug-test­ing and sanc­tion­ing more cred­i­ble by re­mov­ing any po­ten­tial con­flicts of in­ter­est.

Bach has also rec­om­mended that, in the fu­ture, all dop­ing sanc­tions be handed down by the CAS, rather than by in­di­vid­ual sports bod­ies. Olympic lead­ers agreed last year that drugtest­ing in gen­eral -- not just at the games -should be taken out of the hands of sports bod­ies. Bach has pro­posed that an in­de­pen­dent test­ing agency un­der WADA con­trol be put into place be­fore the 2018 Win­ter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. WADA is still study­ing the pro­posal and how to fund it.

Also on Tues­day, World Anti-Dop­ing Agency pres­i­dent Craig Reedie re­ported to the IOC board on ef­forts by Rus­sia and Kenya to com­ply with global rules at a time when track and field ath­letes from both coun­tries risk miss­ing the Olympics in Au­gust.

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