WADA vows stronger fight against doping

Updated: February 5, 2007, 2:36 PM ET
Associated Press

PARIS -- The World Anti-Doping Agency is counting on increased governmental backing, a revision of banned substances and more funding to fight the use of banned drugs in sport.

WADA vice chairman Jean-Francois Lamour, director general David Howman and UNESCO director-general Koichiro Matsuura spoke Monday at the opening of a conference of countries that have signed up for an international convention against doping.

The conference will be asked to approve any changes to the 2007 list of prohibited substances. Matsuura called it "vital" that a banned list "is universally accepted, so athletes and support personnel are fully informed."

During the three-day conference, delegates will also create a global monitoring fund to help eradicate doping.

Matsuura said governments around the world have a crucial role in providing a "much-needed framework to implement the world ant-doping code" and that uniform guidelines are needed "to ensure the seamless application of the convention."

Unanimously adopted by UNESCO's General Conference on Oct. 19, 2005, the anti-doping convention was ratified by member states and entered into force on Feb. 1.

Two-time Olympic fencing champion Lamour -- also France's sports minister -- hailed the progress made in 2006 but said it is "necessary not to give up" and to pool "resources and initiatives."

FIFA's chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak, speaking on behalf of president Sepp Blatter, said soccer's governing body supports the fight against doping.

"Education and prevention has to start, not just at the high level, but at the grass roots, schools and villages," Dvorak said. "There is no place for cheating, or compensating for lack of skill by taking prohibited substances."

Dvorak said 25,000 doping controls were carried out in soccer last year, with the majority among the European leagues.

"We are looking forward to collaboration with WADA and also with governments," Dvorak said.

Smaller member states, such as Bolivia, brought up the cost of running anti-doping laboratories and funding education campaigns. They also noted that some athletes may turn to doping as a shortcut because they lack the money for training.

Also Monday, Russian Federal Sports Agency head Vyacheslav Fetisov -- who won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings -- was elected as the conference chairman.

"We need to cooperate, to coordinate lots of things," Fetisov said. "Work together to get the fastest possible results."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press