The Kontinental Hockey League and the International Ice Hockey Federation have signed a memorandum on a new anti-doping program. Starting from this season, the IIHF will directly conduct the control of anti-doping activities. The KHL Head of Medicine Service, Askhab Gadzhiev, shed light on the details.

- After auditing conducted in the KHL during the latest two seasons, WADA and IIHF came to the conclusion that the League can report directly to the IIHF for anti-doping activities. Earlier, we had an intermediary and a control organ in the GAISF international organization.

The KHL, just as the previous seasons, will continue implementing its anti-doping campaign in collaboration with WADA-accredited agencies and laboratories. However, from now on, the control will be conducted directly by the IIHF, which has already appointed the appropriate organization in charge. This change will allow us to significantly cut down the costs related to the collection and analysis of the samples. Moreover, this kind of collaboration will allow us to be more reactive. The recently-signed memorandum will govern all the aspects of the KHL-IIHF anti-doping collaboration.

- After signing the Memorandum, what kind of changes can we expect regarding anti-doping control?

- Last season, the GAISF created a full testing plan agreed which they agreed with WADA, IIHF, and the League. The IIHF was the organization that dealt with anti-doping rules violation. Starting from this season, the plan will be created by the IIHF itself; as you can imagine, this allows for a more straightforward process.

- What were other GAISF responsibilities?

- They followed the League’s anti-doping activities, their representatives visited the different teams and conducted an audit, according to the results of which an extensive report was drawn up after the season. I won’t say that everything went on seamlessly, there were minor technical problems, but in general, we have no complaints about the procedures. That’s why we decided to work directly with the IIHF, without a further level of control. This doesn’t mean that we won’t have audits now. This will still happen, but less frequently, and it will be done by the IIHF themselves. The main conclusion is that now there is a higher level of trust in the League.

- And what about WADA?

- The IIHF will carry out their activities only after coordination with the WADA. Technically, nothing will change for the League. We can simply say that we are back to the old way. In the 2015/2016 season, we were already working directly with the IIHF regarding anti-doping activities. However, after the known events, an additional controller appeared.

- Will we see an increase in the number of doping tests this season?

- Yes, this is included in our plans. In particular, this will mostly concern regular-season games. Regarding the playoffs, it will depend on how many games the teams will play.

- What else can be expected regarding anti-doping activities this season?

- We always said that we have a zero-tolerance policy on doping and we included this in our seven-year strategy. The KHL educational anti-doping program is ready for launch. It will include, in a summarized and accessible way, everything related to doping control. This is a public document that is useful to everyone: doctors, team management, hockey players of all ages, and their parents. The program is convenient for use, and a separate section is in the form of answers to the most popular questions, for example about how the doping control procedure works, what to do when a positive result is found, and others.

Also, the RUSADA has developed special anti-doping online tests that all doctors will have to pass before the start of the next season.

Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
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