World record removals would 'do nothing to strengthen fight against doping'

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The World Olympians Association (WOA) says proposals from European Athletics that could see a number of existing world records expunged "do not strengthen the fight against doping".

On Monday, the European Athletics Council put forward recommendations that could wipe out all records which do not meet certain anti-doping criteria.

The Council suggested the milestones would only stand where the athlete in question had been "subject to an agreed number of doping control tests in the months leading up to the performance and the doping control sample taken after the record is stored and available for re-testing for 10 years".

With the IAAF only storing blood and urine samples since 2005, all records prior to that date could be expunged if the global governing body agrees to the proposals at a meeting with European Athletics in August.

WOA president Joel Bouzou believes such a move would unfairly punish record holders who have not been proved guilty of doping.

Bouzou said in a statement: "WOA is committed to ensuring that all athletes are treated as innocent until proven otherwise. As a result, we must question the recommendations made by European Athletics to reset any world or European record that was held by an athlete who has not met their proposed criteria.

"The criteria recommended by European Athletics have a very wide reach, and seem likely to affect many clean athletes, inevitably leading to innocent record holders being stripped of their achievements.

"WOA affirms that strong punishment must be enacted on anyone engaged in doping activities, and is universally committed to stamping doping out of sport, but is also driven to protect clean athletes.

"WOA feels that these recommendations are unfair to clean athletes and do nothing to strengthen the fight against doping."

WOA instead suggests the implementation of a three-point plan consisting of "an anti-doping system totally independent of federations, governments and event organisers; increased funding for anti-doping to stay ahead of the cheats and a permanent mechanism to ensure clean athletes can compete even if their sport, government or NOC [National Olympic Committee] is sanctioned".