1 April 2021

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) is pleased to announce that has named the International Testing Agency (ITA) as an independent partner for the implementation of anti-doping programmes at future events, including the European Games and European Youth Olympic Festivals (EYOF).

Effective immediately, the ITA will plan, manage and implement the entire anti-doping programme at the multi-sports events for Europe’s top athletes. The next edition of the European Games is scheduled for 2023 in Krakow and Malopolska in Poland, while the next EYOF (winter) is set to take place this December in Vuokatti, Finland.

The ITA will be tasked with establishing the necessary operational functions and protocols for each event, collaborating with National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs) or Sample Collection Agencies (SCAs), selecting and working with laboratories accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and making sure that the entire doping control process adheres to the necessary quality and security standards in full compliance with the WADA Code and the anti-doping rules of the EOC.

The ITA will also train the sample collection personnel (both Doping Control Officers and Chaperones) prior to EOC events. The doping controls during the events will be based on a comprehensive risk assessment identifying risks across all participating sports at each event, resulting in a tailor-made testing programme. The ITA will also develop a sample retention strategy for the EOC, so that samples taken during its events can be stored and re-analysed at a later moment when technology allows for enhanced testing of the samples for prohibited substances.

Results management will also fall under the responsibility of the ITA, which will pursue any potential anti-doping rule violation under the jurisdiction of the EOC. Furthermore, the ITA will manage the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) programme with the support of the more than 20 medical experts that form the ITA International TUE Committee.

A special focus will be placed on educational and preventive activities for athletes participating in the European Games and EYOF. The ITA, in consultation with the EOC, will develop an anti-doping education plan in accordance with WADA’s International Standard for Education and deliver event-based education activities, as well as make sure participating athletes have access to the necessary resources prior to the EOC events.

“Our partnership with the ITA underscores the EOC’s commitment to providing a level playing field for athletes at our events,” says EOC Acting President Niels Nygaard. “The ITA’s experience, knowledge and expertise in the field of anti-doping will be invaluable going forward and we know we are in safe hands. Together we aim to develop an anti-doping education plan that will truly drive home the point to athletes that there is no place for cheating in Olympic sports.”

ITA Director General Benjamin Cohen said: “It is a great pleasure and honour to announce this partnership with the EOC, one of the most important major events organisers worldwide. I am certain that the EOC can profit from the independence and anti-doping expertise that the ITA offers together with the experience acquired through the management of the Olympic Games’ anti-doping programme. We will work hard to make sure that the European Games and European Youth Olympic Festivals are protected by an anti-doping programme of the highest quality. We look forward to this partnership and to a strong collaboration with the EOC and all European National Olympic Committees for the delivery of clean European events.”