Before WADAwatch was born...
Our sister–blog crystelZENmud scooped the world two years ago, by publishing an article ( LNDD DEAD: END of an ERA???) regarding the legal reform of the Laboratoire nationale du dépistage du dopage, whose independent status was revised, integrated into the AFLD as their département des analyses. We asserted then that such modifications (along with some pertinent changes to texts of competencies required for the scientific staff posts) were a sign of French governmental discontent (the predominant stimulus for reform) with the status, and the comportment, of LNDD and its public image.
News falls, again from France – this time not a WADAwatch scoop – which indicates that changes are again under way in France, this time within the AFLD itself. In the margins of the hotly–contested, new French law reforming its hospital/health–delivery systems, guided by Madame la Ministère Rosalyn Bachelot, is an amendment concerning AFLD. Our thanks to a diligent reader who had passed the news to Ww.
The French newspaper Le Monde carried the story on June 1, 2009, discussing the effects for AFLD of this development.
Apparently the Sarkozy administration has pushed for the Parlement to give it the authority to act upon executive order to 'assure the conformity of French law with the principles of the WADA Code'. Beyond that goal (as the revised WADA Code took effect January 1, 2009, it is certainly not precocious to move France into the second Code), the proposed amendment(s) would permit 'a revised partition of competencies between the State, AFLD and the sporting federations, as well as the governance of the Agency, as “an independent public authority holding moral personality”'. As such, the AFLD holds (Or has held) an independent 'legal person' status: in summary, Le Monde states precisely that 'this measure makes AFLD fear ('fear'?) a coming 'probation' status implemented under the Ministre de Sport, Bernard Laporte.
Why would a government agency 'fear' a constrictive revision of its legal independence?
Le Monde asserts that Nicolas Sarkozy's government seeks to modify the governance of the Agency (overseen by a 'Collège'), as well as how its president is designated. Budget changes are included, with a novel performance–based contract–renewal every three years.
Adding a post of 'Government Commissar' ('commissaire du gouvernement') may also be envisaged, yet the Ministry apparently maintains that 'It is not a question of putting into doubt the independence of AFLD, but more to institutionalize the relations between AFLD and the State.' Thus the 'fear' seems to be directed at the 'leash' or 'noose' that will restrain Team Bordry...?
Website Les Dessous du Sport (which could be 'the Underwear of Sport', literally, but more probably means 'the underbelly') offers a direct quote from the Amendment's text. It states (Ww translation):
The proposed amendment targets amelioration of the coherence of national policy regarding the fight against doping with a revision of the division of competencies between the State, AFLD and the sporting federations.
Les Dessous du Sport recounts one of its responses from AFLD regarding the French Amendment:
“We don't know enough where this is going to lead us; until today, the AFLD was an independent public authority. This amendment, which installs a redivision of competences, could modify the functioning of the Agency and the existing relationship with the Ministry.”
Les Dessous contributes a quick analysis: “If the text is adopted [last Wednesday, June 3, 2009] by the Senate, it goes next in front of the commission mixte paritaire” (which could well be a 'legislative reconciliation committee', where different texts from the lower House and Senate are merged).
This is an interesting development.
After the 2005 Lance Armstrong–L'Equipe–LNDD–EPO fiasco, where the French 'anti–doping powers that be' publicly rewarded Lance for his seventh consecutive Tour de France victory with publication of scathingly insinuative articles by L'Equipe alleging 1999 r–EPO use. After those articles swiftly toured the world, the first realignment took place as LNDD 'disappeared', resurfacing as the 'département des analyses' within the structure of the AFLD.
Now, one could say that the AFLD 'Romper Room' needs a new monitor, in the guise of a (potential) 'Commissaire' from the Ministry of Sport, one can only conjecture as to the necessity, the intrigue(s), the exterior pressure(s) and their sources, that bring Bernard Laporte and Rosalyn Bachelot to install supervision over Pierre Bordry, AFLD and the département des analyses.
Unless... no, it couldn't be... what if Jean-Pierre Lamour is skulking around AFLD?
Lions et Tigers et Bears, Zut! Alors...