Nov 12, 2015

    IOC wants 'cheats' in Wada report punished


    T HE International Olympic Committee (IOC) wants disciplinary action to be taken against athletes who have violated doping rules as the fallout continued on Tuesday from the World Anti-Doping Agency's (Wada's) explosive report on the issue.

    The Wada commission on Monday alleged widespread corruption and collusion by Russian officials, including state security services, to cover up drug test results, destroy samples and intimidate laboratory staff.

    It also identified "systematic failures" by the sports world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

    The IOC said competitors, coaches or officials mentioned in the Wada report who were proven to have violated doping regulations should be punished and stripped of any medals.

    "With its zero-tolerance policy against doping, following the conclusion of this procedure, the IOC will take all the necessary measures and sanctions with regard to the withdrawal and re-allocation of medals and, as the case may be, exclusion of coaches and officials from future Olympic Games," it said in a statement.

    The former global athletics head Lamine Diack, who is under investigation in France on suspicion of corruption and money laundering, was also provisionally suspended by the IOC and resigned as International Athletics Foundation (IAF) chief.

    The early effects of the report were starting to be felt on Tuesday as a Moscow laboratory used for doping tests stopped operating after its accreditation was suspended by Wada. The Russian Sports Ministry said it was open for closer cooperation with Wada to eliminate any irregularities committed by Russia's anti-doping watchdog and its accredited laboratory.

    However, the overall tone emanating from Moscow was defensive with a string of officials denouncing the findings of Wada, which has recommended that Russian athletes are excluded from international events including the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

    The Kremlin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, described Wada's doping allegations as "quite groundless".

    The now-closed Moscow laboratory processed tests for more than 20 sports, suggesting the alleged drug cheating could be widespread.

    Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the laboratory's head, Grigory Rodchenkov, had resigned.

    In the face of defiance from Russian officials, a Wada spokesman issued a statement defending the report, which they said left "no stone unturned in producing its evidence".

    Mr Diack, the former IAAF president and until Tuesday an honorary member of the IOC, quit his position as head of the IAF, a Monaco-based charity.

    Mr Diack, who stepped down as IAAF chief in August, last week was placed under formal investigation by the French authorities.

    The office of France's financial prosecutor claims he received over 1 million euros in bribes in 2011 to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes.

    While the current scandal has focused primarily on Russia, Kenya is another country facing possible action from Wada if it does not make serious efforts to tackle doping.

    The chairman of Kenya's Olympic committee said on Tuesday the country needed to act swiftly to prevent its athletes being banned at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

    Several Kenyans have failed doping tests in recent years.

    Wada last week threatened Kenya with a four-year ban unless it improved its efforts to catch cheats. But Kipchoge Keino, a Kenyan running great and chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, said government officials had shown little stomach to chase down offenders.

    "I have personally tried to reach government officials to agree on how to act on this menace but I don't get appointments. I make calls that are unanswered," Mr Keino said.