IOC calls May 21 meeting to discuss WADA, betting

Olympic leaders will meet on May 21 to discuss the World

Anti-Doping Agency’s role in fighting performance-enhancing drugs

and ways to combat illegal betting and match-fixing.

The meeting at International Olympic Committee headquarters in

Lausanne, Switzerland, was arranged after international sports

federations complained of deteriorating relations with WADA.

IOC director general Christophe De Kepper told The Associated

Press the meeting will be attended by 20-25 people, including

officials from summer and winter federations, national Olympic

committees, athletes and the four IOC vice presidents.

The group will discuss ”issues of common interest,” including

WADA, betting, the sports calendar and independence of sports

bodies, he said.

The focal point will be relations with WADA, which the IOC set

up in 1999 to lead the global anti-doping fight. The IOC and

Olympic movement provide 50 percent of WADA’s annual budget.

The meeting was formally requested by Francesco Ricci Bitti,

head of the Association of Summer Olympic International

Federations, which represents the 26 sports in the games.

”Relations with WADA have deteriorated significantly and the

lack of help and support from WADA against a background of constant

media criticism of its sports `partners’ and the consequent

breakdown of trust need to be addressed as a priority,” Ricci

Bitti, an Italian who is president of the International Tennis

Federation, said in a letter last month to IOC President Jacques

Rogge.

The scandal that led to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his

seven Tour de France titles for systematic doping triggered a

public feud between WADA and the UCI, cycling’s governing body and

a member of ASOIF. WADA has also singled out soccer and tennis for

not doing enough testing.

IOC and sports federation officials have expressed irritation

with recent public statements by WADA President John Fahey. They

have also noted that nearly $500 million is spent each year on

doping controls with relatively few athletes being caught in the

tests.

WADA’s current annual budget is $26 million, with $13 million

provided by the Olympic movement and the other half by

governments.

Still to be determined is who will succeed Fahey, whose six-year

term as WADA chief expires at the end of 2013.

The WADA presidency alternates between the Olympic movement and

governments. Fahey, a former Australian finance minister, succeeded

IOC member Dick Pound as WADA president in 2007 as the

representative of governments.

The IOC is scheduled to nominate the next WADA president at the

world doping summit in November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Another main topic of the May meeting will be illegal betting,

which Rogge has repeatedly warned is as big a threat to sport as

doping and a key element in the scourge of match-fixing.

De Kepper said the IOC will hold separate talks in Lausanne on

May 14 with government officials and betting company operators to

follow up on previous meetings to coordinate efforts against

betting corruption.

The IOC has monitored betting patterns at the last three

Olympics, but found nothing irregular.

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