By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) held a press conference Tuesday following the annual meeting of its executive committee. On the agenda for the day was approval of the prohibited substance list for 2006, the 2006 budget, FIFA's compliance issues with WADA and others. Not on the agenda was anything involving Lance Armstrong or the UCI. However, that was certainly not off limits for the assembled press.
When asked about the UCI's president's comments asking WADA to sanction its own chief, Pound replied jokingly, "I thought about sanctioning myself and decided against it! "[laughs] "After full consideration of all the issues." Following some awkward silence, another reporter asked how Pound would like to see the 'bickering' between WADA and the UCI be resolved. "It's really a matter for the international federation to resolve," Pound said. "This [case] was a sample given for doping control purposes, during either the 1998 or 1999 Tour de France. These are showcase events for the UCI. They are the ones responsible for imposing whatever sanction can be imposed in accordance with their rules. WADA doesn't impose sanctions at any time, all we do is say we think there was a doping infraction - go and deal with it. If we don't think they dealt with it properly we can go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and seek what we think would be the proper outcome."
As for the back-and-forth between his organization and the UCI, Pound replied, "We have indicated that we are prepared to help with any information in our possession, provided they are going to do a complete and thorough and complete investigation, and not simply look at how this information found its way into the public. We hope that the investigation will be full and complete but it is not full and complete at this point, so we will have to wait and see what it will be, and then decide what, if anything, we should do about it on our own."
Pound was then asked why he thinks the UCI is expecting documents from or action on the part of WADA in regards to the Tour de France cases. Pound expressed his uneasiness about the situation, saying, "Yes, it is quite unusual. We didn't even exist in 1998 - we weren't formed until after all of these events took place in 1999. We tried to provide, to the best of our abilities, all of the information we had. I am unable to answer questions as to what may be in the minds of the UCI, what may be in the minds of the labs, or what may be in possession of the labs. We are concerned about the generally accusatory approach to what we may have done. We are a bit nervous about the way this is going. While we want to be helpful in the context of a full investigation, we are not there to participate in something that amounts to a search as to how the information made its way into the public domain."