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November 2, 2012
AOC President Coates wants athletes to sign document declaring no doping

ZERO TOLERANCE AOC President and IOC Executive Board Member John Coates. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
by Roslyn Morris, AIPS Secretary General
SYDNEY, November 2, 2012 - President of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and IOC Executive Board Member John Coates wants future Australian Olympians to sign a document stating they have no doping history.

The AOC released Coates' proposal this morning.

“If they don’t sign, they don’t go to the Games, they won’t be selected. What I don’t want is for the AOC to have egg on its face like cycling has,” Coates, whose proposal will be presented to the AOC Executive Board later this month, said.

If the zero tolerance stance is adopted it would affect athletes in contention for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

According to today's AOC statement "the move follows the upheaval in cycling surrounding Lance Armstrong and the Australian cycling officials Matt White and Stephen Hodge who subsequently admitted to doping".

Athletes, coaches and officials would all be required to sign the document.

The AOC statement referred to Team Sky in the United Kingdom which now requires its Team members and staff to sign a statutory declaration that they have no doping history.

“In my opinion we simply cannot allow the name of the AOC to be damaged, like that of the International Cycling Union, for not having taken every reasonable step possible to ensure that no person in authority on our Olympic Team has a doping history,” Coates said.

The statutory declaration would form part of the Team Agreement athletes, coaches and officials must sign before they are selected by the AOC. Under the new proposal, the penalties for giving a false declaration under oath could lead to imprisonment and large financial penalties. Australian law provides for possible jail sentences for anyone who lies about the contents of a statutory declaration he or she has signed.

Coates recently renewed his call for the Australian Federal Government to strengthen the powers of ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) to investigate doping by “compelling witnesses to attend and give evidence and to produce documents relevant to such investigations.”
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