Anti-Drug Chief Zings IOC!

Anti-Drug Chief Zings IOC!
Posted by FoM on February 02, 1999 at 07:33:47 PT

LAUSANNE, Switzerland The U.S. anti-drug chief tore into the IOC today, saying its legitimacy has been damaged and ``These events have tarnished the credibility of the movement,'' Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, told the opening of an anti-doping conference. 
McCaffrey and European government officials demanded that a proposed anti-doping agency be kept out the control of the scandal-tainted IOC. German Interior Minister Otto Schily suggested that Juan Antonio Samaranch quit as president of the International Olympic Committee and called the organization a harmful ``constitutional monarchy in sports.'' Schily, in an apparent reference to Samaranch, said on German television, ``everyone must know when it's time to go.'' The IOC's plan to develop uniform drug-related sanctions for all Olympic federations suffered another setback, as even one IOC executive committee member saying that such a system would not stand up in court. In his opening address to the three-day conference, Samaranch called for a new drive to wipe out ``this odious and unhealthy form of cheating.'' But he could not avoid the focus of attention being turned on the corruption scandals, which have plunged the IOC into the worst crisis of its 105-year history. Nine IOC members have resigned or been expelled for receiving cash payments, gifts and other favors stemming from Salt Lake City's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games. But representatives of several governments said the core of the IOC's credibility had been hurt. McCaffrey urged the IOC ``to consider institutional reform, open books and financial records.'' He called for ``an elected membership that is accountable and responsible.'' The British sports minister was equally blunt. ``Their internal system of organization and election must be based on democracy, accountability and honesty,'' Tony Banks said. ``The British government expects the IOC to clean up its act.'' The government officials repeatedly said the proposed anti-doping agency must be fully independent and not controlled by the IOC. Samaranch said the agency should be ``autonomous.'' Over the weekend, he proposed that the Olympic drug chief Prince Alexandre de Merode head the agency on a day-to-day basis. ``We don't believe the IOC should be that agency. The issue of doping goes beyond the IOC,'' said Banks, who suggested the body be created under the aegis of the United Nations or World Health Organization. On the controversial issue of drug sanctions, proposals of an IOC working group to streamline drug policies around the globe already ran into obstacles and a plethora of different views were put forward at the conference. Following the objections and reservations of several international federations, IOC executive board member Jacques Rogge also came out against a uniform agreement binding all federations to abide by a unified medical code. The IOC proposal includes a minimum two-year suspension for serious doping offenses. ``You have to be reasonable. This is not a debate in black and white,'' said Rogge. ``You cannot compare athletes. Some careers span eight years, some span 20 years. Sanctions have to be adapted to that.'' In case of an imposed uniform code, ``civil courts would never accept this,'' he said. An IOC panel proposed that athletes face lifetime suspensions and fines of up to $1 million for serious cases of ``intentional doping'' and suggested selective bans for some first-time offenders. The world soccer federation has said the proposals were too tough and unworkable while the international swimming federation said a unified anti-doping stance would be impossible under such circumstances. Olympic skating champion Johann Olav Koss, representing the IOC athletes' commission, said the group supported the two-year sanction and that it should be applied to all sports. On a day when little went Samaranch's way, de Merode partly blamed him for setting the anti-doping program a decade back by opposing the establishment of an anti-doping agency in 1989 on budgetary grounds. ``Samaranch opposed this ... as did practically the whole executive committee. It was shot down by 90 percent of the people who favor it now,'' de Merode told the Paris sports paper L'Equipe. 
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