Montreal, October 23, 2003 - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced today that its president has written to FIFA, asking for clarification on comments made by its president regarding the World Anti-Doping Code following FIFA’s Extraordinary Congress in Doha earlier this week.
WADA President Richard W. Pound wrote FIFA President Sepp Blatter, asking for clarification of comments attributed to him in the press, including quotes stating that FIFA will not accept the Code prior to the Olympic Games in Athens next year. According to the reports, Blatter made a number of comments, including that he is not in agreement with the Code’s requirements for sanctions for doping offenses.
“I find these comments made by Mr. Blatter, if true, to be puzzling,” Pound said. “WADA has made every effort to address FIFA’s concerns, particularly regarding sanctions, in preparation of the Code. It is important to remember that FIFA was part of the unanimous acceptance of the Code at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Copenhagen earlier this year.”
Pound added that WADA staff has worked closely with FIFA representatives since the World Conference to address issues regarding sanctions in the Code. At FIFA’s urging, WADA created a working group to look at how sanctions have been applied since January 1, 2001, and invited FIFA to join in this group, although FIFA subsequently declined to participate. WADA and FIFA have worked on anti-doping issues together under a Memorandum of Understanding since 2002. In addition, WADA Director General David Howman met recently with Jiri Dvorak, doping expert on the FIFA Sports Medical Committee, to discuss a number of issues of mutual interest including FIFA’s acceptance of the Code.
Pound said he has asked to meet Blatter for further discussion on the Code and sanctions.
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, has repeatedly stated that there will be no place for sports organizations at the Olympic Games who do not accept and implement the World Anti-Doping Code. The Olympic Charter has been amended to state that the Code is obligatory for the whole Olympic Movement and that only sports that accept and implement the Code can be included and remain in the program of the Olympic Games.
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