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updated: 11/12/2013 4:53 PM

5 things to know from world doping conference

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  • John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, speaks during a news conference Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa. Fahey says he is confident that cycling's new leadership will set up an independent commission "within weeks" to look at the sport's drug-stained past.

      John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, speaks during a news conference Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa. Fahey says he is confident that cycling's new leadership will set up an independent commission "within weeks" to look at the sport's drug-stained past.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG -- The most important meeting for global anti-doping authorities opened Tuesday. Outgoing WADA President John Fahey said an independent investigation into cycling's doping culture is weeks away and it would take "something close to a miracle" for Lance Armstrong to get his life ban reduced.

The four-day summit is the biggest anti-doping gathering in six years. It will culminate Friday with a new anti-doping code being adopted and the election of a new president of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Cycling's history of doping and a report into the breakdown of Jamaica's testing of its elite runners before last year's Olympics will dominate much of the discussion.

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Here are five things to know from the World Conference on Doping in Sport in South Africa:

CYCLING INVESTIGATION IMMINENT

WADA President John Fahey is confident an independent commission to investigate cycling's doping history will be set up "within weeks rather than within months," raising hopes that the UCI will finally now confront the sport's drug-stained past. Fahey said cycling's leadership under new UCI President Brian Cookson had reached out to WADA almost as soon as Cookson was elected at the end of September. Fahey will meet with Cookson on Wednesday, possibly the first step to a detailed inquiry into how cycling was completely taken over by a corrupt culture of doping -- epitomized by the Armstrong scandal.

WADA: NO LENIENCY FOR LANCE

One thing the outgoing WADA president does not anticipate is any reduction in Armstrong's life ban from sport for his serial doping. "It would take something close to a miracle to change," Fahey said. Armstrong intimated in interviews that he would be willing to cooperate with a truth and reconciliation commission and tell what he knows in return for leniency. The American was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from all sport for life last year following an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency into his and his team's systematic doping. Fahey sees that ban staying. "I see it as done and dusted," he said.

JAMAICA DEADLINE

WADA has given Jamaica's sports minister and national anti-doping body until Friday for their feedback on a report into the Caribbean island's drug-testing problems. Then, the report from WADA's two-day inspection at the end of last month will be discussed by the world agency's board. Fahey said he couldn't comment yet on any of the findings but Jamaica's anti-doping authorities had "dropped the ball. It's clear."

WADA WANTS POWERS TO INVESTIGATE

WADA's frustration with Kenyan authorities' delay in investigating doping allegations made by a German broadcaster 18 months ago has highlighted the anti-doping body's desire to be able to investigate when countries won't. WADA director general David Howman said a proposal to strengthen WADA's powers to launch its own investigations needed to be adopted in the new international anti-doping code. "I think it (Kenya) pinpoints a vacuum in the code which we hope will be filled," Howman told The Associated Press.

FIFA TO USE NEW STEROID PROCEDURE

WADA is introducing a new urine-testing procedure for steroids that will form part of the athlete biological passport, along with blood profiling. FIFA will be one of the first federations to use it at next year's World Cup. WADA says the new technique will look for changes in an athlete's urine profile in much the same way as the blood profiling. It will focus on testosterone and strengthen anti-doping controls, Fahey said, and be available from Jan. 1. FIFA said it'll be part of its testing in Brazil.

Embracing other new technology, WADA will launch a mobile app for athletes to inform authorities of their whereabouts with a cellphone or other device. Elite athletes must be available for random drug testing every day of the year.

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