The new International Testing Agency has officially commenced operations, with chair Valérie Fourneyron expressing her commitment that the body will give the global sports community “full confidence” that it will deliver comprehensive anti-doping services.
The ITA has launched following its second foundation board meeting in Lausanne. The ITA will be headquartered in the Swiss city, home to the majority of international sporting bodies. The meeting saw the board discuss the strategic direction and development of the organisation in the short and long term.
The board reiterated the importance for the ITA to work independently while capitalising on the extensive existing expertise within International Federations (IFs) and Major Event Organisations (MEOs).
It also supported director general Benjamin Cohen’s plans to work collaboratively with all stakeholders involved in the fight against doping, and to partner with interested scientific, academic and technological organisations in order to promote research and advance the fight for clean sport.
Fourneyron said: “I look forward to the ITA’s move into its new headquarters, in just a few days. I am confident the team will spare no efforts in immediately building trust and sharing expertise among our partners. We will give the sports community full confidence that each organisation can focus entirely on developing their sport while relying fully on the ITA to deliver comprehensive and tailor-made anti-doping services.”
Led by former French Sports Minister Fourneyron, the ITA’s board is also comprised of World Archery and Turkish Olympic Committee president Uğur Erdener, who will serve as the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) representative.
Representing the IFs will be Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) president and former International Tennis Federation (ITF) leader Francesco Ricci Bitti. The IOC Athletes’ Commission representative will be Kirsty Coventry, a former swimmer who won two Olympic gold medals for Zimbabwe.
The ITA board’s independent member will be Prof. Dr Peijie Chen, who serves as president of the Shanghai Institute of Physical Education.
The new independent body will seek to provide doping controls and other services to IFs and MEOs. The ITA is a not-for-profit Swiss foundation. It will provide anti-doping services to those IFs and MEOs that wish to delegate their anti-doping programmes to a body that operates independently from sports organisations and national interests.
The Doping-Free Sport Unit (DFSU) of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) will remain intact and become the operational nucleus of the ITA, ensuring the staff expertise required to provide anti-doping services under its new, independent governance structure.
The establishment of the ITA was first discussed at the Olympic Summit held in October 2015 and confirmed by the IOC Executive Board in March 2017 as one of the principles to strengthen the global anti-doping system. The Foundation Board was then ratified by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada’s) Executive Committee in October.