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Cycling: French anti-doping chief calls for funding increase

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The president of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) on Thursday criticised leading international federations for not taking the fight against doping seriously enough.

Bruno Genevois also expressed his frustration at the time taken to put into place the measures required to carry out the fight against doping.

At a hearing at the Senate, the upper house of the French parliament, into the efficency of the anti-doping system, Genevois said the delay in putting plans into action was one of the biggest barriers to fighting doping efficiently at an international level.

"There is a discrepancy between those who believe (in fighting doping) and those who put it into practice," he said.

"For example, the international football federation (FIFA) dedicates 1.2 million euros ($1.5m, £1m) a year to the fight: that is 0.09 percent of their revenue of 1.394 billion euros.

"For the Olympic federations, some sources say they dedicate 35 million euros a year, while for tennis it is 1.3 million euros."

Different sporting federations also apply very different methods when it comes to doping controls, Genevois added.

He said that, during the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa, "unofficial sources claimed that just four urine tests and one blood test were carried out for each competing nation over the course of a one-month competition".

"That seems to me to be completely insufficient."

Genevois also complained that the AFLD was set to be seriously hit by a cut in funding from the French government.

"We discovered in mid-February that the subsidy given to us would be reduced by a tenth in 2013," he said without revealing any exact figures.

"It is bad news even if the AFLD understands that those controlling public finances have to make certain choices."

According to Genevois, the government subsidy constitutes 90 percent of the AFLD's budget, which is believed to total around 9.2 million euros ($11.9m, £7.8m).

The Senate commission into the effectiveness of doping controls intends to hear in the near future from the organisers of various sporting events, including the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which organises the Tour de France.

"The commission will hear from some of the leading event organisers," said Jean-Francois Humbert, a politician from the opposition UMP party who is the president of the investigating commission.

"I have no precise date, but I know it is something we will do.

"It has escaped nobody that we are talking a lot about cycling. ASO will be among those called forward."

The commission, set up at the end of February, has six months to complete its report, but should do so before the end of June, when the French parliament goes into summer recess.

At a hearing on Wednesday, the former president of the AFLD, Pierre Bordry, encouraged the commission to call forward ASO, as "they know a lot about what goes on in their competition."

Cycling's already stained reputation in the fight against doping has been further damaged by the recent Lance Armstrong affair, and the AFLD has in the past had a difficult relationship with the International Cycling Union (UCI).

However, the AFLD announced last month that they would now be working closely with the UCI in an attempt to stamp out cheating on the Tour de France.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130321/cycling-french-anti-doping-chief-calls-funding-increase