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Rogge says IOC backs WADA on FIFA row

THE International Olympic Committee supports the controversial "whereabouts" policy that has caused a rift between the World Anti-Doping Agency and soccer's governing bodies, IOC President Jacques Rogge said.

WADA has been at loggerheads with soccer's world governing body FIFA and the powerful European body UEFA over the policy introduced on January 1. The policy requires athletes to notify anti-doping authorities of their location for an hour a day.

FIFA wants the rule to apply to teams and not individual players, and says out-of-competition tests should only take place at club training facilities. It also says players should not be tested during holidays "in order to respect their private life."

"The position of the IOC is very clear ... we are in favor of the 'whereabouts' policy. There is no doubt about that," Rogge told reporters in Wellington ahead of the Oceania National Olympic Committee general assembly in Queenstown.

"We think this is essential to have a good fight against doping."

Rogge said all of the federations at the WADA conference in Madrid at the end of 2007 had agreed to the "whereabouts" rule and had 12 months to get ready for its implementation.

"There seemed to be a lack of communication between the moment the decision was taken and the implementation," Rogge said.

While he said the IOC considered doping in sports its No. 1 priority, Rogge stopped short of suggesting soccer could be removed from the Olympics if it did not comply.

WADA Secretary General David Howman said last week that non-compliance could mean the sport's exclusion from the Games. "There are all sorts of consequences that are not ours to measure," New Zealander Howman said in Denver last week.


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