The International Testing Agency (ITA) is set to carry out an anti-doping programme at the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games after securing a partnership with the European Olympic Committees (EOC).
The EOC has named the ITA as an independent partner which will see it plan, manage and implement anti-doping processes at multi-sport events including the European Games and this year’s European Youth Olympic Festivals (EYOF) scheduled to be held in Vuokatti in Finland in December.
EOC Acting President Niels Nygaard said he felt the organisation was in "safe hands" with the ITA as it aims to get rid of cheats.
"Our partnership with the ITA underscores the EOC’s commitment to providing a level playing field for athletes at our events," said 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."
The ITA has been tasked with collaborating with National Anti-Doping Agencies or sample collection agencies, working with laboratories accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and ensuring the doping control process is in full compliance with the WADA Code and the EOC’s own anti-doping rules.
The EOC said the ITA would also train the sample collection personnel, including doping control officers and chaperones prior to events.
During competitions, the EOC said doping controls would be based on a "comprehensive risk assessment" identifying risks across all participating sports, resulting in a "tailor-made testing programme".
The ITA is expected to develop a sample retention strategy for the EOC, so that samples taken during events can be stored and re-analysed at a moment when technology allows for enhanced testing of the samples for prohibited substances.
Results management is also set to fall under the responsibility of the ITA where it will pursue any potential anti-doping rule violation under the jurisdiction of the EOC.
In addition, the EOC said the ITA would manage the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) programme with the support of the more than 20 medical experts that form the ITA International TUE Committee.
"It is a great pleasure and honour to announce this partnership with the EOC, one of the most important major events organisers worldwide," said ITA director general Benjamin Cohen.
"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."
The EOC said a special focus would also be placed on educational and preventive activities for athletes participating in the European Games and EYOF.
The ITA, in consultation with the EOC, is expected to develop an anti-doping education plan in accordance with WADA’s International Standard for Education and deliver event-based education activities, as well as making sure athletes have access to the necessary resources ahead of events.