As a part of its bureau meetings this week in Hangzhou, China, FINA announced on Sunday that it has signed an anti-doping service agreement with the International Testing Agency (ITA). The ITA is a non-profit organization conceived of by the International Olympic Committee, ostensibly free of influence by national interest or sports federations.
The organization’s Board of Directors, including director general Benjamin Cohen, is made up of IOC representatives and government officials, calling into question those claims of independence. The organization became operational earlier this year, with former Zimbabwean Olympic swimmer Kirsty Coventry serving as the representative from the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Coventry spoke out in favor earlier this year of WADA’s decision to relieve Russia of some of the requirements to have the Russian Anti-Doping Agency reinstated.
As part of the agreement, FINA will continue to control in-competition testing, while the ITA will provide out-of-competition testing services and manage the blood passport program.
Full FINA Press Release:
FINA has signed today an anti-doping service agreement with ITA, the International Testing Agency, a non-for-profit foundation which provides independent expert anti-doping services.
The ceremony was held at the conclusion of the “Anti-Doping – Ensuring fair play in Aquatics” topic at the FINAWorld Aquatics Convention, being held in Hangzhou (CHN), from December 8-10. Benjamin Cohen, ITA’s Director General, was one of the speakers in that panel and then signed the agreement with FINA President Dr Julio C. Maglione.
“FINA is very pleased with this partnership. Our International Federation is at the forefront of the fight against doping, and our co-operation with ITA will reinforce our strength and leadership in this area. Together, we will decisively be stronger in this continuous war against cheaters in our Sport”, considered Dr Maglione.
“The ITA is honoured to have been entrusted with the management of several areas of FINA’s anti-doping programme. We look forward to this partnership and the ITA will will work hard, in close co-operation with FINA, to ensure that the Sport of Aquatics and its athletes are clean”, Mr Cohen said.
Within this agreement, FINA will keep under its scope the in-competition testing at FINA events, while ITA will be responsible for the out-of competition procedure and the biological passport programme.