(ATR) The IOC is reacting quickly to a German TV documentary exposing questionable financial and anti-doping policies of the International Weightlifting Federation.
The 45-minute documentary aired Jan. 5 on ARD
. The network has a team of journalists who focus on corruption in sports. ARD’s reporting after the Sochi Olympics helped bring to light the scandal wracking Olympic sports in Russia.
“The Master of the Lifters” raises questions about the integrity of the IWF anti-doping program. Despite scores of doping disqualifications in recent years, the IOC has given the federation the greenlight to remain in the Olympics, citing improvements being made by the IWF.
But new allegations from the documentary, if proven accurate, may force the IOC to reverse course on its accommodations for the IWF.
A disciplinary commission has been established to examine the case of Thai weightlifter Rattikan Gulnoi. She’s caught admitting to doping at the 2012 Olympics in a hidden camera interview. IOC member Denis Oswald will lead the disciplinary panel to examine the conduct of Gulnoi and her entourage.
The allegations raised are likely to be discussed at this week's meeting of the IOC Executive Board in Lausanne.
The ARD program claims that Thailand’s junior athletes have been tainted by doping programs conducted by coaches and trainers.
A press release from the IWF acknowledges the findings of the ARD report and says the allegations will be pursued.
“The IWF will now confer with WADA and the International Testing Agency, in order to establish whether a wider investigation may be appropriate."
Thailand, suspended by the IWF for doping issues, nonetheless, hosted the 2019 IWF World Championships. No Thai lifters were allowed to compete.
IWF president Tamás Aján (ATR)
The IWF release did not address the questions raised in the ARD program about millions of dollars of IOC revenue shared with the federation but placed in an account which IWF President Tamas Ajan was the only signatory.
The IOC says it abandoned a 2010 complaint of financial irregularities against Ajan when the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled the IOC did not have “any jurisdiction to intervene in the internal accounts of an International Federation”.
Times have changed says the IOC in its statement today reacting to the ARD report.
“Given the change in the IOC Code of Ethics since then and the fact that the television programme may contain new information, the IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer will ask ARD for all the documentation in its possession in order to properly address it,” says the IOC.
For its part, the IOC statement terms the accusations in the ARD documentary as “very serious and worrying” but raises concerns about claims against the IOC.
‘Regrettably, the authors of the TV programme have not reported any of the statement the IOC provided to them. At the same time, the IOC wants to clarify that – contrary to what ARD is claiming – it was not in possession of “most of the documents” on which the film is based. This applies to the documents regarding the doping statistics and those regarding the alleged financial irregularities,” says the IOC statement.
Ajan, from Hungary, has been president of the IWF since 2000, when he began a 10-year term on the IOC that ended when he reached age 70 retirement. He is listed as an IOC honorary member.
Reported by Ed Hula.
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