Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, has criticized the International Olympic Committee of acting like the “Keystone Cops”.

Tygart also said the IOC decision not to suspend the entire Russian contingent in the Rio Olympics was wrong. The USADA chief executive said that has always been our biggest worry – if you fail to put any consequence in place, which is what the IOC did, that sends a message that there are some that are too big to fail. Tygart also remarked the credibility of the IOC and WADA was further undermined by a report on anti-doping operations at Rio itself by an independent observer. The USADA chief said he is surprised and worried that 4,000 athletes out of the 11,000 that were in Rio had no tests prior to the Rio Olympics, out of which 1,900 of them were in high-risk sports. Tygart said he fears that clean athletes would very soon turn their backs on sport if there was not a fundamental overhaul.

Tygart also issued a warning that it is “now or never” to overhaul the global fight against doping in the wake of the Russian doping scandal or lose it forever. Tygart, who led the investigation that brought down the seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, added the governance of the World Anti-Doping Agency has to change and be made truly independent.

The USADA chief added we have to be cogniscent and honest about the tension between promoting and policing your sport. Tygart went on to add that we have to remove the fox from guarding the henhouse as it can’t police itself. Tygart was referring to the recent re-election of Sir Craig Reedie as WADA president for another three years. WADA recently launched its first whistleblower program and ratified a process that should allow it to set its own sanctions against non-compliant countries for the first time.

Tygart added it was time for wholesale reform. The USADA chief also said clean athletes are frustrated and they are upset and also commented they see what’s going on. The chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency added they want their rights protected and they want a system that works. Tygart also said there was a fundamental unwillingness on the part of the International Olympic Committee that provides half of WADA’s $30m per year funding – to give up control and further remarked the IOC could immediately remove themselves from the WADA board, they could immediately put $500m or whatever the number is into a fund to ensure anti-doping has the resources it needs to truly protect the brand. He said the IOC should place $500m in a blind trust and use the proceeds to fund a truly independent global anti-doping regulator. Tygart remarked it is an investment in the brand and it is short-sightedness that is really frustrating. He also said people want fair play and they want to know what they are watching is real and is not a fraud and is not rigged.

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