EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE APPROVES RECOMMENDATION FOR URINE DETECTION OF EPO
BUDGET ISSUES DISCUSSED; FURTHER FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS FROZEN; PRIVATE FUNDRAISING TO BE PURSUED
Montreal, June 7, 2003 - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced today that its Executive Committee has accepted the results of an independent report stating that urine tests can stand alone in detecting the presence of recombinant erythropoetin (EPO).
The independent examination, commissioned by WADA to evaluate the validity of urinary and blood tests for detecting the presence of recombinant EPO, was approved by Committee members. The report's conclusions state that urinary testing is the only scientifically validated method for direct detection of recombinant EPO. However, the report recommends that urine testing be used in conjunction with blood testing for a variety of reasons, including the cost savings of blood screenings.
"This is the first time we have a scientific decision that urine testing can stand alone in detecting EPO," said Olivier Rabin, WADA's science director. "This is an important step forward in our quest to constantly improve our testing strategies."
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had previously accepted urin test as a valid method, although without benefit of this study.
The EPO report can be found on WADA's website at www.wada-ama.org.
During the meeting, the Executive Committee also approved the International Standards for Laboratories and Testing and agreed to give joint WADA/IOC accreditation for testing to a laboratory in Ankara, Turkey.
The lack of funding received by WADA this year was a primary topic of discussion for the Executive Committee. WADA has yet to receive the majority of its funding for 2003. As of June 6, WADA had only received US $6.5 million, or approximately 30 percent of its budget, the majority of which has come from an advance from the Olympic Movement. According to WADA's statutes, stakeholders must pay their contributions for any given year before December 31 of the preceding year. The Olympic Movement matches dollar for dollar contributions made by governments.
The Executive Committee discussed the budget crisis and decided that WADA would make no further financial commitments until an additional US $7 million of the Agency's budget for 2003 has been received.
"It is truly disheartening that we are in a situation where we cannot currently fulfill a number of our obligations because our stakeholders cannot honor their commitments to pay on time," said Richard W. Pound, WADA's president. "Our ability to carry on the fight against doping in sport, which everyone believes is important, is now being seriously compromised by the failure of those stakeholders who have not paid what they have promised to pay on time."
Prior to the meeting, Pound sent a letter to all WADA Foundation Board members, warning of the impending cash crisis. Countries that have recently paid their 2003 dues include Canada, the United Kingdom and Austria. A list of which countries have fulfilled their financial commitments to WADA can be found on WADA's website.
The Executive Committee also decided that beginning next year, the Agency's budget will be approved by the Foundation Board in June, allowing more time for governments to include the obligations in their current budgets and to invoice governments for their payments for 2005 and beyond.
To aid in meeting WADA's financial needs for special projects, the Committee also agreed to allow the Agency to pursue sponsorship opportunities in the private sector. WADA plans to pursue these private partnerships in the months to come. Any monies received through sponsorships will be supplemental and will not affect the amount to be paid by governments and the Olympic Movement with respect to the core budget.
WORLD ANTI-DOPING CODE
The Executive Committee was updated on the progress being made in the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code, which was accepted by delegates to the World Conference on Doping in Sport in March. More than 30 sporting organizations have already adopted the Code and 64 governments have signed the Copenhagen Declaration, pledging to accept the Code as the basis for the fight in doping in sport. It is expected that the International Olympic Committee will adopt the Code at its session in early July.
"I am very pleased by the progress made toward adoption and implementation of the Code," Pound said. We are well on our way toward seeing the Code in place, as expected, by next year's Olympic Games."
The Committee approved the Model Rules for International Federations, which can be used to assist them in developing their own rules and regulations regarding compliance with the Code.
ANTI-DOPING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The Executive Committee approved pursuing the creation of a global Anti-Doping administration and Management System (ADAMS), which will coordinate worldwide doping controls for international athletes for the first time.
Through ADAMS, WADA would establish a clearinghouse to coordinate all testing of elite athletes in order to avoid duplicate testing. The results of these tests will be reported to WADA and made available to all relevant stakeholders and athletes. In addition, athletes will now, for the first time, have to report their whereabouts information for testing to one central location through ADAMS. The Code mandates that the clearinghouse be in place for WADA to undertake its collection role.
As directed by the Committee, WADA will look at cost considerations in implementing such a system and the possibilities of a partnership with one or more private companies to coordinate ADAMS.
It was decided by the Executive Committee to move forward with planning for establishing the regional office in Tokyo before the end of 2003. Initial steps such as staff recruitment will begin immediately. The timing of opening the office will depend on when financial resources are available.
In addition, the Committee approved moving forward with plans to also open a regional office in South Africa this year, following an operational audit. WADA's Foundation Board had approved the idea of opening such an office in 2004. The South African government has volunteered to fund the running of this office for the initial 12 months in order to ensure a broader WADA presence in Africa as soon as possible.
The Committee will next meet in September for a crucial strategic planning discussion on priorities and tasks mandated by the Code leading into 2004.
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A recording of the press conference will be made available immediately following the conclusion of the press conference (7PM Eastern time) on WADA's website.
Point of Contact for the media :
Frederic Donze, media relations manager