IOC in TOP Sponsor Talks with GSK; Coe Reacts to Doping Scandal

(ATR) GlaxoSmithKline discusses TOP Sponsorship... Sebastian Coe reacts to the ongoing doping scandal... Russian Interior Ministry issues warrant for Bialov... More inside...

(ATR) Around the Rings understands that GlaxoSmithKline is one of the companies in discussions with the IOC about joining the TOP sponsor program.

The IOC is seeking to secure its 11th and 12 top-tier sponsors for the Rio 2016 Olympics. It hopes to ink deals before the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September.

One of the new TOP sponsors would replace computer manufacturer Acer in a new category incorporating the increasing use of tablets in the computer technology landscape.

The two new sponsorships for the 2013-2016 Olympic period would take the IOC's TOP sponsor revenues over $1 billion for the first time.

GlaxoSmithKline, the U.K.-based pharmaceutical company, was the official laboratory services provider for the London 2012 organizing committee.

Under the tier three deal, GSK offered facilities and equipment to enable Kings College London to operate a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited satellite laboratory at Games-time.

GSK employs more than 17,000 people in the U.K. with more than 5,000 people working on the research and development of new medicines.

A spokeswoman for GSK declined to talk about the company’s negotiations with the IOC, saying: "We are not in a position to comment on speculation."

Coe Reacts to Doping Scandal

In the wake of the latest doping scandal to hit athletics, Sebastian Coe says the IAAF will step up its fight against drug cheats.

Reacting to the doping positives by sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, the IAAF vice-president and chairman of the British Olympic Association told Press Association Sport: "The most important thing for me is that the testing system is working and for the sake of clean athletes it is very important we do not flinch in our efforts.

"This is not a war we can afford to lose, and it is important for any athlete to know that if they want to risk cheating that they are going to get caught."

The U.S. sprinter, who has run the three fastest 100m times this year, and the Jamaican former world record holder, revealed on Sunday that they had failed doping tests.

IOC president Jacques Rogge told ATR on Monday that he was "surprised" and "disappointed" but it proved out-of-competition testing was effective.

Echoing Rogge’s views, Coe said: "Of course we would rather not wake up to the headlines that we have done today but we have taken a tough stance on doping and will continue to do so.

"We are still waiting for the B samples and as vice-president of the IAAF it is very important we go through this process in a proper way to really understand what we are dealing with.

"But the message is getting through and we are not taking our foot off the pedal."

Gay’s positive test is for an unknown banned drug, which is expected to be confirmed in the analysis of his B sample. Powell failed a drugs test at the national trials in June; he returned an adverse finding for the stimulant oxilofrine. Jamaican Olympic medalist Sherone Simpson also tested positive for the banned substance at the same championships.

On Tuesday, Italian police said Powell, Simpson and their trainer Christopher Xuereb were under investigation for allegedly violating the country's doping laws.

The probe comes after police on Monday raided a hotel where they were staying in the northeastern town of Lignano Sabbiadoro and confiscated substances for analysis.

Olympic discus thrower Allisson Randall today became the third Jamaican athlete to confirm a positive drugs test from the national trials, further tarnishing the reputation of the country’s track and field athletes who have made such an impact at the past two summer Games.

Russia to Issue a Search Warrant for Bilalov

The Russian Interior Ministry is preparing a search warrant for "corrupted Olympics official" Akhmed Bilalov, according to a Xinhua report.

"The ministry's investigative department is preparing to issue federal and international search warrant for Akhmed Bilalov," the ministry's press service said.

Bilalov is the former head of the ski jump construction project for next year’s Winter Olympics in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

According to investigators, Bilalov cost the project $1.37 million.

Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized Bilalov in February over delays and cost overruns during his time in charge of the RusSki Gorki ski jump complex. Soon afterward, Bilalov resigned from three top posts he occupied within the Russian Olympic Committee and fled to Germany with his brother Magomed.

Authorities plan to question Bilalov’s brother this week as well.

Reported by Mark Bisson

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