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IOC President Thomas Bach: "No place to hide for drug cheats" Back To Main


‘The recent allegations against the WADA accredited anti-doping laboratory in Sochi are very detailed and therefore very worrying. Since they concern the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has every interest in a full and speedy clearing up of the allegations.

Therefore we have asked WADA for a comprehensive investigation and full report to the IOC. The IOC itself has and will contribute to address these allegations with all the appropriate measures within its powers. Therefore the IOC will instruct the Lausanne Anti-Doping Laboratory, where the Sochi samples are stored for ten years, to proceed in cooperation with WADA with their analysis in the most sophisticated and efficient way possible.

Also, the IOC has already requested the Russian Olympic Committee to undertake all efforts to ensure the full cooperation of the Russian side in the WADA investigation. The IOC has put its Medical and Scientific Director, who himself is an Olympic Champion, at the disposal of the WADA investigation.

Should the investigation prove the allegations true it would represent a shocking new dimension in doping with an, until now, unprecedented level of criminality. There can be no doubt – and no clean athlete in the world should have any doubt – that the IOC would react with its record of proven zero tolerance policy not only with regard to individual athletes, but to all their entourage within its reach. This action could range from life-long Olympic bans for any implicated person, to tough financial sanctions, to acceptance of suspension or exclusion of entire National Federations like the already existing one for the Russian Athletics Federation by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The results of the WADA investigation will also greatly influence the nature of the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Should there be evidence of an organised system contaminating other sports, the International Federations and the IOC would have to make the difficult decision between collective responsibility and individual justice.It would have to consider, whether in such 'contaminated' federations the presumption of innocence for athletes could still be applied, whether the burden of proof could be reversed. This could mean that concerned athletes would have to demonstrate that their international and independently proven test record is compliant with the rules of their International Federation and the World Anti-Doping Code, providing a level playing field with their fellow competitors.

In this respect the IOC has already proven its determination some months ago - irrespective of any sport or any nation - by deciding to retest specific targeted samples of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 and London 2012 according to the latest available scientific standards. This decisive action will most likely stop some dozens of doped athletes participating in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

Independent from these latest allegations the IOC has already in October 2015 requested that the whole anti-doping system be made independent from sports organisations and has for the Olympic Games 2016 delegated its entire sanction system to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

With all these measures within our zero tolerance policy we prove that the protection of the clean athletes from doping, corruption, all kinds of manipulation and unfounded suspicion are at the heart of all our efforts. As an Olympian this fight for all the clean athletes touches me personally. I made my first steps as an international athlete representative by supporting the request for a life-long ban for every doping cheat.

Because of my background I can understand the many emotional requests being made by athletes now. As athletes we also stand for fair play. This is why we must give a fair procedure to everybody. This means to first establish all the facts and then to act decisively based on those facts. This we owe to all the clean athletes around the globe. This we owe to our Olympic Values.

Thomas Bach
IOC President