Dick Pound to Lead WADA Probe Into Russian Systematic Doping Allegations

An independent commission has been set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate allegations of widespread and systematic doping among Russian athletes.

The three-person WADA commission will be chaired by WADA’s former president Dick Pound and will also include lawyer Richard McLaren. A third member of the independent commission will be announced by the World Anti-Doping Agency at a later stage. WADA said the investigation will begin next month. The panel will seek to determine if there have been any World Anti-Doping Code violations by athletes, coaches, doctors, trainers, and WADA-accredited laboratories that may result in sanctions against individuals or organizations.

Pound, the outspoken Canadian IOC member, is entrusted with the task of investigation and comes with strong credentials. He led an internal probe of the International Olympic Committee into the Salt Lake City bid scandal that resulted in the resignation or expulsion of 10 members.

The International Association of Athletics Federations welcomed the appointment of the WADA panel. IAAF President Lamine Diack said The IAAF takes this opportunity to reiterate its full support of the WADA investigation and added our primary concern must always be to protect the integrity of competition in support of the vast majority of clean athletes, and we look forward to working with WADA to this end.

Earlier this month, a documentary broadcast by German television station ZDF/ARD disclosed Russian athletes and coaches admitting to covering up positive doping tests. The documentary claimed that 99 percent of Russian athletes are guilty of doping and it also alleged that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body for track and field, decided not to investigate 150 suspicious doping samples, including one from a British athlete.

In a statement, WADA confirmed the role of the Commission is to establish: if there have been any breaches of World Anti-Doping Code or International Standard processes or rules by signatories to the Code; if there have been any breaches of rules by WADA-accredited laboratories; if there have been any breaches of anti-doping rules by athletes and their entourage members (including coaches, trainers and doctors); and, to gather information and explore whether sufficient evidence exists that could lead to sanctions against any individual or organization under rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie remarked WADA is pleased that Richard Pound and Professor Richard McLaren have agreed to look into the grave doping allegations that came to light through the recent German television broadcasts. Reedie added the Independent Commission has the vital task of reviewing the allegations aired during the documentaries, as well as all other information received separately by WADA, to determine if there have been any violations to anti-doping rules. The WADA president also remarked once the investigation is concluded, if it is found that there have been violations or breaches of the rules, WADA will ensure that any individuals or organizations concerned are dealt with in an appropriate fashion under the World Anti-Doping Code. He also said the Commission will be given the resources it needs in order for the investigation to be carried out thoroughly, and so that, in turn, clean athletes across the world are reassured that the anti-doping system is working in their best interests.

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