Australia asks athletes to sign no doping document
SYDNEY (AFP) –
Australian athletes will need to sign a document stating they have never engaged in doping under a proposal suggested by the nation’s Olympic chief in the wake of the cycling drug scandal.
“If they don’t sign, they don’t go to the Games, they won’t be selected,” Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said on Friday.
“What I don’t want is for the AOC to have egg on its face like cycling has.”
Cycling has been rocked by the Lance Armstrong controversy after the United States Anti-Doping Agency in October found the American rider had helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping programme in the history of sport.
Armstrong was issued a life ban and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
Coates said he could not allow the AOC to suffer the same fate as cycling, as he urged that athletes, coaches and officials all sign a statutory declaration as part of the team agreement saying they had no history of doping.
“In my opinion we simply cannot allow the name of the AOC to be damaged, like that of the International Cycling Union, for not having taken every reasonable step possible to ensure that no person in authority on our Olympic team has a doping history,” Coates said.
He plans to put the proposal to the AOC executive board at a meeting in Melbourne this month and it could impact athletes competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the next summer Olympics in Brazil.
The cycling doping scandal has already spread to Australia, with Cycling Australia officials Matt White and Stephen Hodge admitting to doping in the past and resigning their positions.
Coates recently urged Canberra to beef up the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to investigate drug use by giving it the power to compel witnesses to give evidence and to produce documents relevant to such investigations.