Wednesday 24 January 2018

IAAF hits back at Chris Froome after he claims athletics needs to invest in anti-doping

Chris Froome
Chris Froome

Phil Blanche

Chris Froome's claims that athletics should follow cycling's lead and invest more heavily in anti-doping have been criticised by track and field's global governing body.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) insists it is already spending more than any other sport in the battle against drugs.

British cyclist Froome faced constant allegations and innuendo on his way to his second Tour de France victory last month, claims which were partially quietened when Team Sky released some of his power data midway through the race.

Cycling has attempted to get to grips with doping in the sport in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal and the sport's blackest days appear to be behind it.

At the same time athletics is embroiled in ongoing doping allegations which threaten to overshadow this month's World Championships in Beijing.

The IAAF, the sport's world governing body, suspended 28 athletes who competed in the 2005 and 2007 World Championships after the retesting of anti-doping samples.

This came in the wake of the World Anti-Doping Agency saying it would investigate the claims of German broadcaster ARD/WDR and The Sunday Times, who having gained access to a database containing more than 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes.

The two media outlets alleged more than 800 athletes - and a third of all medallists in endurance events at recent Olympics and World Championships - had suspicious blood test results which were not followed up by the IAAF.

"From what I understand, the testing (in athletics) hasn't been at the level that it is in cycling," Froome told BBC Sport. "It is going to have to invest a lot more heavily in anti-doping. That would be a step in the right direction."

Froome said cycling's governing body the UCI spends about four times what its athletics equivalent does on testing.

But the IAAF said those figures were misleading as the vast majority of cycling's anti-doping budget comes from pro-tour cycling teams, event organisers and riders rather than the UCI.

"At the risk of sounding repetitive by reiterating what we have said before, the IAAF spent 2,300,000 US dollars in 2014 on our anti-doping programme on testing alone," said an IAAF statement.

"When the cost of administrative support (10 full-time members of staff) and litigation is also added, it brings the overall expenditure up to more than USD 3,000,000.

"This is, without doubt, the highest proportion of an annual budget of any equivalent sporting federation or organisation.

"The UCI spent approximately CHF 1,100,000 (approximately USD 1,130,000 at current exchange rates) on anti-doping in 2013 via what is known as the 'Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation'. It is our understanding that this contribution has even been reduced since then.

"The vast majority of cycling's anti-doping budget comes not from the UCI itself but comes from contributions by the pro-tour cycling teams, the event organisers and the riders themselves."

The IAAF claimed 80 per cent of the money for testing in cycling goes to male members from the UCI pro-tour team and there was no spend on female riders, cross-country, track cycling or other cycling disciplines.

"The federation's own money is spent to cover every aspect of the sport - from track and field to cross country, road running, walking and mountain running - men and women," added the IAAF statement.

"If the intention is to imply that 'cycling' does more and spends more than 'athletic' worldwide (rather than referring to the facts about what the respective federations are doing, and which the IAAF hope we have just done) then we propose that media refer to the WADA annual sport by sport comparison.

"This comparison shows that the sport of athletics did over 25,000 tests worldwide in 2014 while cycling did 23,000 tests, so logic suggests that athletics spends more than cycling worldwide in the field of testing.

"We regret the attempt by a selected group of media to set athletics against cycling, since the IAAF has the greatest respect for the work being done by the UCI in the field of anti-doping."

In a statement, the UCI said it did not wish to comment on the IAAF's press release or the efforts of other international federations in the area of anti-doping but stressed its own budget exceeded six million Swiss francs - nearly £6.4million US dollars.

Press Association

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