ITA BOLSTERS STRUCTURAL INDEPENDENCE, UPDATES BOARD ON CORONAVIRUS CONSEQUENCES & TOKYO 2020 ANTI-DOPING PROGRAM

 

Lausanne, Switzerland, 12 June 2020 – At the latest Board meeting of the International Testing Agency (ITA), two new independent Board Members were officially approved, both former athletes. The Board was also updated on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on testing missions, the adaptation of the anti-doping program for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and other current affairs of the organisation.

The International Testing Agency (ITA) held its Board meeting chaired by Dr Valérie Fourneyron via video conference on Thursday, 11 June 2020, to review the organisation’s activities since the Board last came together during the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Conference in Katowice in November 2019. The meeting was also an opportunity to implement structural changes for increased independence as two new independent Board Members were officially welcomed following their vetting and approval by WADA’s Executive Committee. The ITA is therefore extremely pleased to welcome to its Board two Olympians and exceptional personalities, namely Ms Chantal Brunner (Olympian in athletics; 1996 and 2000 Olympics) from New Zealand, and Dr Roger Jackson (Olympian in rowing; 1964, 1968, 1972 Olympics) from Canada. They will join the two other independent members and three representatives of the sport movement that make up the seven-member Board of the ITA, together with a WADA representative holding a permanent non-voting position.

Since retiring from elite level international athletics, Ms Brunner has built a successful legal career and has maintained an ongoing involvement in sport in support of athlete-centred programs. She chairs in a consultative capacity the Olympians’ Commission of the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC), among other international engagements to promote athletes’ rights, and is a former Panel Member of the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand. “I’m passionate about sport and the right of athletes to compete in a transparent, fair and clean sporting environment, particularly one that fights against doping”, says Ms Brunner upon being elected as ITA Board Member.  “I believe the work the ITA has in front of it will help drive the next chapter of success for the integrity of sport and the protection of clean athletes. I’m excited for the opportunity to serve on the ITA’s Board and to support the ITA to achieve its goals.”

Dr Roger Jackson has championed clean sport for decades, including promoting anti-doping, as President of the Canadian Olympic Association but more importantly through his role as Chair of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and his contributions to the Olympic Solidarity publications on ethics in sport. For over two decades he was professor of the Faculty of Physical Education at the University of Calgary. “I am delighted to join the Board of the ITA and to work with its team. The achievements to date of this new organisation are remarkable. I look forward to assisting it with its mandate of delivering high-quality services, building collaborations with partners and doing so with integrity and transparency”, states Dr Jackson on his new role as ITA Board Member.

The meeting also allowed the Board to review the measures taken by the ITA to address the unprecedented situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the cancellation and postponement of many international sports competitions and the inability to conduct testing activities across the world as planned. Doping controls were carried out whenever and wherever possible, and the ITA maintained all other anti-doping activities and services for its partner International Federations (IFs) and Major Event Organisers (MEOs) throughout the lockdown. Event-based education was shifted to a series of public live webinars that saw a huge attendance with over 2,000 participants from all corners of the world. The ITA has issued specific guidelines on increased sanitary precautions to protect the health of athletes and the anti-doping workforce and is prepared to work at over-capacity throughout the summer in order to intelligently carry out planned and rescheduled tests.

The Board was also informed that the anti-doping program for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is currently being adapted for a delivery in 2021. The work on the coordination of pre-Games testing recommendations to all anti-doping organisations (ADOs) worldwide delivered by the ITA Tokyo 2020 Pre-Games Expert Group continues. In addition, the ITA is finalising the construction of a secured centralised long-term storage facility that will store samples collected by any interested ADO for up to ten years to allow for their re-analysis, following the success of previous re-analysis programs implemented for the Beijing, Vancouver and London Olympics.

In this respect, the ITA has just finalised the London 2012 re-analysis program that saw more than two-thirds of all urine samples collected at the time of the Games re-analysed and, in total, more than 80 anti-doping rule violations uncovered, allowing in some instances the reallocation of Olympic medals to their rightful owners by the IOC.

The Board was furthermore informed that ITA’s Legal Affairs Department was handed over 50 priority athlete cases by WADA in the framework of “Operation LIMS” that probes into doping in Russian sport and conducts the Moscow laboratory re-analysis program.

Finally, in addition to a number of operational and strategic updates – such as the adoption of a policy to limit the number of mandates of ITA Board Members – the Board received a full report on the transition of UCI’s anti-doping program to the ITA. As of 1 January 2021, the ITA will take over the management of UCI’s anti-doping activities and given the scope of the program and number of stakeholders involved, this transition will take place throughout the year 2020.

 

MEMBERS OF THE ITA BOARD:             

Independent Chair

Dr Valérie Fourneyron (FRA)

Independent Member

Prof Peijie Chen (CHN)

Newly appointed independent Members

Ms Chantal Brunner (NZL)
Dr Roger Jackson (CAN)

Representative of the Athletes

Ms Kirsty Coventry (ZWE)

Representative of the IOC

Prof Dr Uğur Erdener (TUR)

Representative of Int. Sports Federations

Mr Francesco Ricci Bitti (ITA)

Representative of WADA (non-voting)

Mr Sebastien Gillot (FRA)