MONTREAL -- The World Anti-Doping Agency received assurance that the United States will pay what it owes for the agency's budget once Congress appropriates the money.
Richard Pound, the WADA president and a top IOC official, said Monday he spoke by phone with U.S. anti-drug chief John Walters about the $800,000 owed by the United States.
The United States pledged $8.5 million for the WADA budget in 2002. The IOC is matching that amount, accounting for most of the money in the $18 million WADA budget. So far, just more than $10 million of the total has been paid, WADA said.
Pound said he spoke with Walters and Andrea Barthwell, a deputy director in Walters' office who is the U.S. government representative on the WADA Foundation Board.
Pound said Walters told him the $800,000 for the 2002 WADA budget would be coming as soon as Congress approves appropriations for the fiscal year 2003.
"I am assured that as soon as the Congress is able to pass the pending appropriations bills, the U.S. government will honor its pledge to WADA," Pound said.
Britain, France and Germany all have paid their $504,978 obligation, and Japan paid its $1.5 million commitment, the largest of any country.
Pound said Walters also confirmed U.S. support for a code being drafted by WADA. It would be the first set of universal drug rules for international sports.
Among other things, it would establish a single list of banned substances, mandate rigorous out-of-competition testing and set standard penalties and suspensions for drug cheats, including two-year bans for serious offenses.
The code would cover Olympic sports, but professional leagues such as major league baseball would not necessarily come under the code except if its athletes compete in the Olympics or other international events.
It is expected to be adopted at a conference in March in Copenhagen, Denmark, and would be in effect for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
WADA is headquartered in Montreal and was set up by the IOC after the drug scandal at the 1998 Tour de France.
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