Craig Reedie: IOC raising funds to tackle doping

Sir Craig Reedie admits that the IOC needs more assistance from governments around the world to clean up sport. Picture: Robert Perry

Sir Craig Reedie admits that the IOC needs more assistance from governments around the world to clean up sport. Picture: Robert Perry

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Sir Craig Reedie believes that the International Olympic Committee is on the way to raising a fighting fund of $14 million (£8.8m) for the war on doping.

The former chairman of the British Olympic Association now sits on the IOC’s executive board and says greater financial resources are pivotal to beating the drug cheats.

Reedie said the IOC’s German president Thomas Bach had produced two $10m funds (£6m) designed to deal with doping matters and manipulation or match-fixing in sport, but he expects those figures to be surpassed after pledges of financial support from individual nations.

The 73-year-old Scot said Turkey’s cheque had already been cashed by the IOC and he believes other pledges will soon turn into hard cash for their special anti-doping reserve fund.

“Turkey’s money is in the bank and we have guarantees from China, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast and New Zealand,” Reedie said. “I’m also sure Japan and Korea will commit so I’m hopeful we might raise $5-6m which means we’ll get $5-6m guaranteed by the IOC.

“There’s a lot of very advanced thinking out there using technology against doping and, hopefully, we can use that. Would that work? I don’t know, but if we have a fund of $12-14m we could have quite expensive research.

“I’m looking for the scientist who says we don’t have to test for urine or blood any more and has got a much better idea. You know that machine you go through at the airport which says you’ve got a gun. Well, could someone say we’ve got that technology to show the last time an athlete took a dose of steroids? I don’t know that answer but what we do need is to think outside the box and something easier would be helpful.”

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Reedie says there is a fierce determination among athletes to clean up sport but admits the IOC needs more assistance from governments around the world. He believes great strides have been taken in this area by UNESCO’s anti-doping convention which 100 countries signed up to and will seek nations to implement drug legislation, particularly on illegal substances.

“When we were looking at the terms of the new [IOC anti-doping] code in Johannesburg there were absolutely outstanding contributions from leading athletes,” Reedie said. “They all said: ‘Please, please increase the sanctions, we do not want unclean athletes competing’.

“They thought it was great that we’re protecting the clean athlete and I think that philosophy is right.

“But governments must have the will to tackle the problem and introduce legislation. Unfortunately it’s not a high enough priority for them and one of the toughest jobs I have is to [get them to] take it seriously.”

Reedie also responded to Lord Sebastian Coe’s comments there must be greater clarity in the international sporting calendar after Fifa announced on Monday that two winter options are the most likely dates for football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The dates of January/February 2022 and November/December 2022 have emerged as the most likely options after Fifa’s medical chief warned that temperatures between May and September in Qatar posed a “highly critical” risk.

But Reedie ruled out the idea of the World Cup clashing with the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in either Almaty in Kazakhstan or Beijing in China and can be staged no later than February because of climactic conditions.

“My understanding is quite clear. Thomas Bach and Sepp Blatter [Fifa president] have met and agreed there will not be a clash,” Reedie said at the DohaGOALS 2014 Forum in Qatar. “We have a much, much narrower window in the Winter Games in 2022 if you look at the two candidate cities we have. We can’t do it in March and probably have to do 16 days at the end of February.

“I’m sure the agreement is that football will abide by that and so they should because you don’t want two of the biggest sporting events in the world clashing.”

Reedie also said he saw no issue with the Olympic Games leaving its traditional summer date in the northern hemisphere should the Qatari capital Doha – which applied to host the 2020 Games eventually won by Tokyo – return to the 2024 bidding process and ultimately prove successful.

“It’s happened before with Sydney in 2000 when we were down there in September in their spring,” Reedie said.

“But if you want to take it somewhere that’s clearly hot you should have the right to say we want to host it in October or November.”

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