Kissinger Defends IOC Reforms

Kissinger Defends IOC Reforms
Posted by FoM on September 26, 1999 at 10:09:15 PT
By Lisa Riley Roche
Source: Deseret News
The International Olympic Committee turned to Henry Kissinger, one of the most prominent members of its reform commission, to offer assurances Saturday that the effort is on track despite harsh criticisms from the White House drug czar during his recent visit to Salt Lake City.
"We're making good progress," Kissinger, a former U.S. secretary of state, told reporters in a hastily arranged telephone interview from IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. But he declined to provide any details of the reforms approved Saturday in a closed-door meeting by members of the executive committee of the reform commission, IOC 2000.However, according to an IOC statement, the meeting resulted in endorsement of reform proposals from working groups that include setting term limits for the IOC's president and members, adding contemporary athletes to the organization and more restrictively controlling those involved in the selection process for Olympic host cities.Reporters were instructed before the five-minute interview with Kissinger not to ask him about comments made by Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of President Clinton's Office of National Drug Control Policy. McCaffrey, who visited Salt Lake City this past week, told members of the Deseret News editorial board that the IOC was not fit to police the use of drugs by Olympic athletes, as reported in a copyright story in Friday's newspaper."I've never seen anything like it," the drug czar said of the IOC, calling the organization arrogant and describing IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch as a "former fascist in his 80s (who) is now exercising unilateral authority." McCaffrey wants an independent drug-testing agency established by the U.S. and like-minded governments.Kissinger, however, did respond briefly to questions about McCaffrey's concerns. He said that McCaffrey may have a point about the IOC's past structure but that the IOC "cannot be assessed in terms of the past. It must be assessed in terms of where we're going."Kissinger also said he met with McCaffrey shortly after being appointed to the reform commission earlier this year. "I had a long meeting with Gen. McCaffrey, and he made a very impressive presentation to me. The doping issue is one of the most complex, and I'm going to get another briefing about it tomorrow from the IOC," Kissinger said.He suggested that McCaffrey's concerns may be addressed by the reform commission, which is expected to approve a final report at the end of the month. The IOC will be asked to adopt the commission's report during a special session scheduled in Lausanne in December.Kissinger said members of the reform commission have worked hard. The panel's 80 members were divided into three working groups, which presented their findings to the commission's executive committee Saturday. The 13 non-IOC members of the executive committee also include former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, corporate leaders and athletes."A lot of people are giving a fair amount of their time and we wouldn't do it we did not believe reform is possible. We certainly have no intention of white-washing. Our recommendations will have to stand the test of scrutiny," Kissinger said. "We would not produce a report in which we don't have confidence."USOC President Bill Hybl, also a member of IOC 2000, agreed with Kissinger that real progress was made Saturday. Reached in Lausanne, Hybl said doping was discussed during the meeting but did not receive the same attention as some other issues, including setting new age limits for IOC members."(Doping) is one we certainly want to take a look at. Gen. McCaffrey has been very dedicated on this issue of doping. I have to also credit the IOC. They are looking at ways they can play a role in the anti-doping effort," Hybl said. He and other USOC leaders met with McCaffrey at the USOC's Colorado Springs headquarters last week.Hybl said that unlike the United States, many nations do not have the capability to deal with testing athletes for performance-enhancing drugs. The IOC has proposed creating an agency that would be responsible for carrying out the tests but needs the support of sports organizations as well as governments.Anita DeFrantz, the senior member of the IOC from the United States, was also in Lausanne for the meeting. She said McCaffrey should be satisfied with the reform commission's proposals. And, DeFrantz said, the IOC has pledged $25 million to start the new drug-testing agency."The IOC is acting," she said.She dismissed the increasing criticism of the IOC in Washington, D.C. Besides McCaffrey, at least two congressional committees are looking at the IOC in the wake of the scandal surrounding Salt Lake City's bid for the 2002 Winter Games. Salt Lake bidders gave IOC members more than $1 million in cash, gifts and other inducements.A House subcommittee will hold hearings next month on similar allegations surrounding the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. The Senate Commerce Committee, which has already held hearings on the IOC's reform effort, is scheduled to turn its attention to doping next month.Deseret News, Sunday, September 26, 1999, 12:00 AM MDTCopyright  1999, Deseret News Publishing Corp. IOC Executive Assails White House Drug Chief - 9/25/99
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