September 19, 2005 – It is with great disappointment that the Union Cycliste Internationale (“UCI”) must today respond to and correct the statements made by Mr. Dick Pound, the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”).
As explained in our Press release on Monday, August 29th, the UCI is conducting a comprehensive examination of all issues related to the reported testing referenced in that Press release. We do not know how to be more clear — we are conducting a comprehensive investigation as WADA requested that we do. The investigation of the testing and the results that were published must logically start with the laboratory and WADA and we are waiting for a response from them to our questions. Moreover, we have sought and received information from the athlete mentioned in the Press, and we have been seeking information from the French Minister of Sport and the French laboratory.
Contrary to Mr. Pound’s statements, the UCI is conducting an examination of all issues, including, but not limited to, the reasons for the testing; the testing protocol; funding; the approval of the testing; how samples were selected; how the testing was conducted; the accuracy of the tests; the results reported; the use made of the results; and all other issues related to the L’Equipe article and the allegations contained therein. It has been three weeks since we initiated the investigation at WADA’s request and WADA has failed, to date, to provide all the documents and information we have requested, which we need to conduct the investigation, even though WADA has stated its willingness to assist the UCI. Mr. Pound has been quoted as saying:
“We’re waiting to see whether they have a commitment to get at the truth and the whole truth before we decide to participate further in the investigation. … We are prepared to help further if one of the issues that the UCI wants to explore is how some of this information became public, that’s fine. But we’re not prepared to sit by and participate in an investigation that only looks at how the information became public.”
WADA and Mr. Pound are well aware that the UCI investigation is focused on all issues and is not in any way limited to how the information became public. Many of the questions WADA has failed to answer and many of the documents WADA has to this point failed to produce concern issues such as the reliability of the test in general and the testing in this case in particular; the purpose of and approval for the testing; the manner in which the testing was conducted; WADA’s involvement in the funding and supervision of the testing; whether the testing complies with WADA standards; why the laboratory insisted, as a prerequisite to giving the research data to WADA, that no athletes could be sanctioned based on the results being reported; and many other issues.
In our view, it is completely inappropriate for Mr. Pound and WADA to limit or place conditions on their cooperation with the UCI investigation, which WADA requested, or to select with which aspects of the investigation they wish to cooperate. If Mr. Pound’s contention had any truth, and he really believed the investigation was focused solely on who leaked information to L’Equipe, and he has no knowledge about who leaked information to L’Equipe, he would have no ability to aid the investigation and he would not have anything to withhold. The information which WADA has failed to produce, as mentioned above, are obviously issues which need to be addressed in any comprehensive investigation or any efforts to get at the truth and the whole truth,” as Mr. Pound claims he wants.
As an entity that is responsible for, among other things, “promoting the practice of doping-free sport in accordance with ethical principles” and “reinforc[ing] at international level ethical principles for the practice of doping-free sport”, it is essential that WADA must comply with the highest possible standards of ethical behaviour and confidentiality, and ensure that its accredited laboratories do the same. (WADA Instrument of Foundation, Article 4). The WADA Foundation Board is required “to ensure the independence of [WADA] and transparency in all of its activities” (WADA Instrument of Foundation, Article 10). Mr. Pound’s refusal to cooperate completely with the UCI investigation and his statements to the media are apparently intended to conceal his unjustified stonewalling of the investigation.
While we would very much prefer not to address individual issues until the comprehensive investigation has proceeded much further, we must address Mr. Pound’s statement to the media that
“it was already apparent that the only possible source of that information was the UCI itself”¦ It’s quite clear that the only way there could have been a match between the code numbers and a particular athlete was on the basis of information provided by the UCI”¦ they did not remove the code numbers from the information they provided to the media, so I don’t understand why they’re not stepping up and saying, “˜Well, I guess we do know how the names got public. We made it possible.’”
WADA has been informed by the UCI that the reporter only received one doping control form from the UCI, and the false pretences used by the L’Equipe reporter to gain access to that form were explained in the UCI letter that he references. Indeed, Mr. Verbruggen has never been involved personally, contrary to what Mr. Pound said in another statement. However, it is also apparent that the reporters were given at least five and perhaps fifteen of Lance Armstrong’s doping control forms from the 1999 Tour de France, and it is certain that those forms did not come from the UCI.
Mr. Pound’s transparently erroneous statements about the UCI being the source of the forms are difficult to explain, except that they appear to be an attempt by Mr. Pound to draw attention away from his efforts to obstruct and delay the UCI investigation. Mr. Pound’s conduct in this matter has already been criticised by one member of the WADA Foundation Board, and UCI calls upon the entire WADA Foundation Board to assign responsibility for complete cooperation by WADA with the UCI investigation to an individual who will honour WADA’s obligations of ethical behaviour and transparency. It is essential for the WADA Board to hold Mr. Pound accountable and to conform WADA’s conduct to the requirements of its operative documents and the Olympic Charter. It is essential that WADA act swiftly and definitively to establish that conduct of this type will not be tolerated.