LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) – British Anti-Doping Agency director Tom James will join the Tennis Integrity Unit to head a new independent body set up to develop new anti-doping measures in tennis after its chief executive quit last week.
Former world number one James steps in for the right-hand of England team captain Hugh Fraser, with Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) chief David Howman stepping down with over two-years remaining on his term as head of the arm of anti-doping in the game.
James, the former England hockey player, becomes Davis Cup captain Steven Gerrard’s first choice and is a long-standing supporter of a new tribunal for offenders in domestic soccer.
He will also come aboard to help the Committee of British Cycling with its drive for more credible allegations and to enhance the independence of its anti-doping system.
Howman said on Friday his successor had already started working to set up a new TIU – a policing entity of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) – to provide an independent platform for all and enhance integrity.
“It will offer important tools for both work and action which improve the understanding of offences and compliance,” Howman said in a statement.
Tennis’s domestic laws are unclear but there are laws in Britain, Australia and the United States relating to the treatment of players for substance abuse. James’s appointment will not be subject to parliamentary approval, but the career tennis professional will provide strength for the new body.
“I am thrilled to be involved in this important move forward for tennis and the integrity of its game and look forward to a successful alignment of interests,” James said.
“Tennis is in the middle of an international epidemic of performance-enhancing drugs and a culture that puts athletes at a significant disadvantage. I am a firm believer that all of the players deserve equal treatment under the law.
“The next step to this dialogue is the establishment of an independent integrity watchdog with respect to the integrity of our sport, the integrity of my sports and performance-enhancing drugs.”
John Cooper, chair of the Board of the ITF, said James would be a good fit for the new body.
“We know Tom James from tennis and we feel that he is the best person to handle this new role in terms of his proven work on anti-doping matters and his sport-counselling and broadcasting skills,” Cooper said.
“I believe his technical expertise and presence will both be a benefit to this important work.” (Reporting by Martyn Herman Editing by Ken Ferris)