The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has announced that it will work with police from the Nuclei Antisofisticazione e Sanità (NAS) to carry out its anti-doping testing, especially out of competition surprise testing.
The NAS is responsible for public health and have often played a key role in doping investigations in sport and especially cycling, however it appears to be the first time a police force, and in this case part of the Italian military, has been directly responsible and operational in carrying out anti-doping controls.
The NAS has recently worked with public prosecutors in the Padova investigation of Dr. Michele Ferrari and his many clients. Evidence collected by the NAS also played an important role in the USADA investigation into the US Postal Service team and Lance Armstrong.
Some Italian politicians have been pushing for a totally independent anti-doping body but CONI president Giovanni Malagò surprised them with the announcement of the agreement with the NAS. A detailed investigation by magistrates and the NAS in Bolzano revealed serious holes in the ADAMS whereabouts system for numerous Italian athletes, apparently forcing CONI to act.
“The NAS are an ideal partner. We approached them with discretion and there's an outline agreement. And we'll give full details in a press conference on February 9,” Malagò told Gazzetta dello Sport.
It seems that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is aware of the project, with the NAS expected to sign an agreement with WADA to enable them to work closely together.