2015’s Olympic Summit took place last week in Lausanne, Switzerland, where representatives from more than 50 cities across all continents attended the multi-day educational event spanning October 12-14th. In addition to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) executive board, leaders from 15 international sporting federations attended the conference, which is organized in an effort to promote information sharing across cities and federations of all sizes.
This year signaled the fourth edition of the event, with the 2015 version putting special emphasis on key items outlined in IOC President Thomas Bach’s Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms. As such, the subject of doping was at the top of the list of items discussed in Lausanne.
Per Bach, “we cannot overstate the importance of good governance, which leads to credibility. We need credibility for our sports organisations as well as for our sports competitions. With regard to the credibility of sport and the protection of clean athletes, the Summit has taken a major step forward to making anti-doping testing independent from sports organisations.”
During the Summit, Olympic leaders agreed that drug testing should take place independent of sports organizations. Meaning, leaders are turning to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to take over drug testing on a global level, although no specific timeframe was delineated. The idea behind the change is to give more credibility to drug testing by placing the role in the hands of an independent body, who, in theory, will remain impartial and more willing to uncover cheating cases.
Currently, with the drug-testing responsibility resting on the shoulders of each sporting federation, critics point to this current system as inherently hosting a conflict of interest. Under the new proposal, although the testing itself would be conducted by WADA, the associated disciplinary procedures and potential sanctions would be determined and carried out by the individual federations.
Originated in 1999 as a worldwide anti-doping watchdog of sorts, WADA itself does not carry out any testing today, but does accredit labs around the world. For WADA to indeed undertake the testing component as proposed, significant funding would need to be redirected from the independence sporting federations to WADA. Details on this particular aspect of the proposals were not released at this time.