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IOC to introduce entourage doping sanctions: Bubka

National Olympic Committee President Sergei Bubka speaks during a news conference at the National Olympic Committee in Kiev, June 20, 2012.
National Olympic Committee President Sergei Bubka speaks during a news conference at the National Olympic Committee in Kiev, June 20, 2012.

By Toby Davis

LONDON (Reuters) - International Olympic Committee presidential candidate Sergei Bubka expects the body to approve sanctions for doping offences by athletes' entourages at a meeting of their executive board in August.

Ukrainian Bubka, who is one of six candidates in the running to replace current IOC president Jacques Rogge, is chairman of their Entourage Commission which has been set up because of concerns that athletes are being led astray by those working for them.

"It is clear, I am chair of the Entourage Commission and we are working right now for entourage sanctions," the former Olympic pole vault gold medalist and six-times world champion told reporters on Wednesday.

"We have already done our work and the final stage, August 9, the executive board of IOC will approve this and this we will presented to sports institutions to implement."

A recent spate of positive dope tests have provoked debate about the role of coaches and managers in an athlete's regime.

Former double world sprint champion Tyson Gay recently failed an out-of-competition dope test and said: "I don't have a sabotage story. I don't have lies...I basically put my trust in someone and I was let down."

Jamaica's former world 100 meters record holder Asafa Powell and Olympic 4x100 meters relay silver medalist Sherone Simpson also tested positive and both said they had never knowingly taken any substances.

Their trainer Chris Xuereb has denied providing them performance-enhancing drugs and said the sprinters should take responsibility for their failed dope tests.

SYSTEM WORKS

Bubka, who won gold at the Seoul 1988 Olympics and is a member of the powerful IOC executive board as well as a senior vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said the recent spate of positive tests showed the system was working.

"Of course there are some positive cases that are unpleasant, we don't like them but in some way we must see it as positive," he said.

"The system works...you will pay the price if you go the wrong way, this is a very important message."

He warned athletes to steer clear of supplements that could leave them vulnerable to positive tests and gave his support to increased bans for convicted dopers from two to four years.

"I think we need to go this way," he said. "We need to protect honest athletes, we must eliminate the cheaters. This is very important for sport, for youth, for credibility of sport."

The 49-year-old, who broke the world record 35 times, is joined by Germany's Thomas Bach, Singapore's Ng Ser Miang, C.K. Wu of Taiwan, Puerto Rican Richard Carrion and Swiss Denis Oswald in a six-way contest for the most influential post in world sport.

Bach, an Olympic fencing champion in 1976, is the favorite to be elected on September 10 when Rogge, in charge since 2001, steps down when his two-term rule comes to a mandatory end.

Bubka puts youth sports participation high on his list of priorities for the IOC to tackle but also said the issue of the cost and size of the Games needs to be addressed in the near future.

The soaring costs involved in holding a Games have led to accusations that providing a host city is now the exclusive preserve of only a handful of rich countries.

The cost of hosting the 2014 winter games in the Russian resort of Sochi has been estimated at around $50 billion, making them the most costly Olympics ever.

Bach suggested the Summer Games could be extended further to encompass more than the 28 sports currently allowed, a move Bubka says could only be considered if it did not come at a financial cost and involved the sharing of venues.

"If we engage new sports it must be used in the same facilities, there must be no additional costs this is clear," he said.

"This is an important issue for the success of the future of the Olympic Games as the best sports show on the planet."

(Editing by John Mehaffey)

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