FISU and the ITA have signed an agreement that will see the latter support the former in the delivery of an "effective" doping control programme during the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk in Russia ©FISU

The International University Sports Federation (FISU) and the International Testing Agency (ITA) have signed an agreement for the delivery of an "effective" doping control programme during the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk in Russia.

The Winter Universiade will be hosted by Russia for the first time from March 2 to 12, with more than 2,000 student-athletes expected to compete in 11 sports across 11 days in the heart of Siberia.

In an attempt to ensure the health of the competitors and a level playing field, all FISU events are governed by the FISU Anti-Doping Rules, which are in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code.

In Krasnoyarsk, the anti-doping programme includes tests to be conducted before and during the Winter Universiade.

It has also been confirmed that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) will be involved in an education and prevention programme. 

In 2015, FISU and WADA partnered to develop a freely accessible e-textbook to assist anti-doping education and this clean sport initiative is set to continue in Krasnoyarsk through the RUSADA programme. 

Confirmation of RUSADA's involvement comes at a time when WADA’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC) is currently meeting in Montreal, two weeks after a deadline for the national anti-doping organisation to hand over data from its Moscow Laboratory was missed.

"As the home of global university sport, FISU has always invested great effort into anti-doping measures," Eric Saintrond, FISU's secretary general and chief executive, said of today's announcement. 

"Having processes in place to ensure clean sport is an integral part of all our Winter and Summer Universiades, as it is in all our events.

"FISU is committed to ensuring the highest possible standards in this constant endeavour and we firmly believe the ITA will ensure the best possible delivery of our anti-doping programme."

The 2019 Winter Universiade is due to be held in Krasnoyarsk from March 2 to 12 ©FISU
The 2019 Winter Universiade is due to be held in Krasnoyarsk from March 2 to 12 ©FISU

Under the agreement, the ITA will provide all necessary equipment and coordinate sample collection during the Winter Universiade.

It will also provide two anti-doping specialists who will supervise all the procedures conducted on the ground.

Furthermore, the ITA will train the 16 doping control officers in charge of test implementation, as well as sample collection personnel.

"The ITA is honoured to have been appointed by FISU and the Local Organising Committee of the 2019 Winter Universiade to be held in Krasnoyarsk, Russia as their anti-doping partner," ITA director general Benjamin Cohen said.

"As per FISU's motto, the Universiades gather today's stars and tomorrow' leaders, so it is an excellent platform for FISU and the ITA to jointly educate the participating athletes on the importance of the fight against doping and to raise awareness about clean sport.

"The ITA looks forward to supporting the host of this prestigious event and providing its independent expertise to ensure that a robust anti-doping programme is in place."

Following the ITA's testing at Krasnoyarsk, the samples will be shipped under strict protocol to the WADA-accredited doping control laboratory in Seibersdorf in Austria.

FISU became a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code in 2004, reinforcing close collaboration with WADA to ensure a safe and clean environment to all student-athletes participating in FISU sport events.

"FISU stands for clean sport," FISU Medical Committee chair Dr Dusan Hamar said.

"We have insisted on absolute independence and transparency in this process.

"With ITA's strong compliance and clear governance structure, we are very pleased to have them on board for the protection of sport and ensuring the health of athletes."

More than 2,000 student-athletes are expected to compete in 11 sports at Krasnoyarsk 2019 ©FISU
More than 2,000 student-athletes are expected to compete in 11 sports at Krasnoyarsk 2019 ©FISU

RUSADA was given a December 31 ultimatum to hand over crucial data from its Laboratory Information Management System when it was controversially reinstated by WADA on September 20 last year, amid the country's doping crisis.

Initially, RUSADA had been told it must hand over the data - which it is thought will help WADA catch more cheats - before being declared compliant again.

WADA then changed its own criteria in September, however, amid a deadlock, saying the decision would end an "impasse".

Defending the move, WADA's President Sir Craig Reedie said he could "100 per cent guarantee" the data would be received, but when a five-person team travelled to Moscow to extract it last month they were turned away with the Russian authorities claiming their equipment was not certified under Russian law.

As a consequence, calls for the CRC to meet and immediately declare RUSADA non-compliant once again were widespread and came from individuals including WADA's own vice-president Linda Helleland.

The ITA was formed in 2018, claiming to act independently of any sports organisation or national interest.

Its establishment was billed as a key step in the global fight for clean sport.

Several International Federations have since handed their anti-doping functions to the organisation, who look ready to take a growing role in handling testing at major sporting events.

The Opening Ceremony of Krasnoyarsk 2019 is scheduled to take place at the Platinum Arena on March 2.