John Coates has fired back at high-profile anti-doping crusader Dick Pound over the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president’s involvement in the world cycling crisis.
Coates and Pound have a long history, with the Australian beating the Canadian two years ago for the presidency of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS).
Pound, the former World Anti-Doping Agency president, has spoken about a potential conflict of interest because cycling’s world governing body, UCI, asked Coates to recommend members for their new independent commission.
The UCI announced the commission in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, the biggest crisis in the sport’s history.
The cyclingnews website quoted Pound as saying it was “troubling” that Coates and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen are members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Verbruggen was in charge at the UCI when Armstrong was at the peak of his now-disgraced racing career.
The independent commission’s terms are yet to be set, but there are widespread calls in cycling for the spotlight to fall on Verbruggen.
“What you hope is that everyone stands back,” Pound said.
“It would be more troubling if another IOC member was sitting on the commission.
“Then people would say it was the gang working for each other.”
Coates fired back at Pound’s comments, saying there was nothing wrong with his involvement.
“I consider it totally appropriate for the president of ICAS to be invited by the UCI to recommend the composition and membership of the independent commission,” Coates said in a statement.
“I respect Mr Pound but disagree with him that it should have been WADA that was invited.”
Coates, one of the most powerful men in Australian sport, and Pound will cross paths in Shanghai this week at several ICAS meetings.
Pound, who is also involved in ICAS, has been a fierce critic of how the UCI have handled the sport’s deep-seated doping problems.
Coates backed his own anti-doping credibility while also taking aim at Pound for how the Canadian dealt with cycling during his time as WADA president.
“When he was the head of WADA, Dick Pound waved a big stick at the UCI telling them to get their house in order, but nothing was achieved,” Coates said.
“Hopefully now that the murky world surrounding Lance Armstrong has been laid bare we will get some results with the new commission.
“I have been pushing for over a decade for tougher laws around doping in sport.”
Earlier this month, Coates proposed that any member of the Australian Olympic team would have to sign a statutory declaration that they had never doped.