IOC wants athletes to become whistleblowers

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      IOC wants athletes to dob in dealer

      INTERNATIONAL sports federations should offer incentives to athletes to become whistleblowers in the fight against doping, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said yesterday.

      In the wake of the latest drug scandal, involving the designer steroid THG, Rogge said anti-doping officials needed to consider unconventional methods to get drug cheats and their suppliers out of sport.

      “You need incentives,” Rogge said.

      “The IAAF has made a very good move in promising Dwain Chambers (the English sprinter who has tested positive for THG) that he will have a lesser penalty if he can tell the IAAF where he got the drug. It’s like a plea bargain. It’s something we should consider. We want to catch the athletes who are cheating but we also want to catch the drug dealers; the doctors, the scientists.”

      Rogge said intelligence gathering had become an increasingly important weapon in the doping war, citing the fact THG had been discovered because a disgruntled coach sent the drug to the US Olympic Committee.

      “Unless you have a clue you will not be able to find a test (for designer drugs),” he said.

      “If this anonymous coach, who should receive the Nobel Peace Prize, had not sent a syringe we would not have a test.

      “We have to step up the intelligence-gathering on doping. I spoke to Dick Pound (the World Anti-Doping Agency president) about that yesterday. We need to have contacts with the police and the Ministry of Justice in each country.”

      He said the IOC’s lawyers were working to gain access to the testimony given by athletes to the grand jury in San Francisco as part of the tax fraud investigation into drug company BALCO, which numbers many champion athletes among its clients and is suspected to be the source of THG.

      Rogge also said the US’s tardiness in paying its annual fee to the World Anti-Doping Agency may cost New York its bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. He said any country bidding for the Olympics “must comply with the WADA code”.

      Asked if the US government’s attitude threatened the New York bid, he said: “That’s definitely something the IOC will look at … but we are still a long way from that choice because the vote will be taken in two years’ time. I would hope the United States would be paying by that time.

      “It’s not that they are not paying, but they were due to pay $1.4 million and that has been reduced to $1.1 million.”

      Pound has accused the White House of “lack of interest” in the doping issue.

      He said he expected less than two-thirds of WADA’s annual dues would have been paid by the world’s governments by the end of the year.

      He warned that recalcitrant governments could face sanctions, for example the banning of national flags at the Games.

      Rogge said the problem of governments neglecting their commitments could seriously undermine the campaign against drugs in sport.

      “This is a major worry for us,” he said.

      Rogge is in Sydney to attend tomorrow night’s World Cup final. He received the Australian Olympic Committee’s highest award, the Order of Merit, yesterday for his work as IOC Coordination Commission chairman for the Sydney Olympic Games.

      In return, he presented the Prime Minister, John Howard, with the IOC’s gold Olympic Order for his contribution to sport.

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