Governing bodies for Winter Olympic sports are considering plans to devolve responsibility for all ethics proceedings to a new panel run by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), insidethegames can reveal.
The plans, which are due to be discussed further at next month's SportAccord Convention in Bangkok, would see an "independent" panel oversee all cases from a centralised pool of judges.
This would mark a shift from the current system in which all seven Winter Olympic International Federations - representing skiing, biathlon, curling, ice hockey, skating, bobsleigh and luge - have separate ethics panels within their respective organisations.
It is possible that the plans could eventually be rolled out to other Federations representing summer and non-Olympic sports.
International Ski Federation (FIS) secretary general Sarah Lewis believes this would increase both efficiency and independence.
"FIS and the Winter IFs have proposed to GAISF to consider establishing an independent Ethics Commission for all the IFs to access for two main reasons," she told insidethegames.
"Firstly the independence aspect and secondly for efficiencies.
"Until now we have not had any cases at FIS referred to an Ethics Commission and don't believe it's the case with the other winter IFs either.
"So our suggestion has been made to GAISF to consider establishing a centralised pool of Ethics Commission members, following a similar model to the Independent Testing Unit which has taken over from the DFSU [Doping Free Sports Unit] set up by GAISF, that provided services including appointing panels to handle doping cases or TUE [Therapeutic Use Exemption] applications.
"The services of such an Independent Ethics Commission should then be available to all IFs on an optional basis and at their own cost."
Sporting ethics proceedings have faced mounting criticism in recent months following scandals in governing bodies.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) responded by setting up an Integrity Unit which supposedly sits separately to the governing body.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also have a nominally "independent" Ethics Commission headed by the former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, but it only makes "recommendations" which are passed to the ruling Executive Board for a final decision.
There have been disciplinary cases involving officials from winter IFs in recent years.
The International Biathlon Union handed a two-year suspension to its former vice-president Gottlieb Taschler in 2016 after he was found to have arranged a meeting between his son Daniel, a member of the Italian national biathlon team, and Michele Ferrari, the disgraced former doctor of cyclist Lance Armstrong, to acquire performance enhancing drugs.
It is not yet clear whether the new GAISF panel would be able to deliver their own verdicts or refer them back to the respective governing body.
There would also be lingering questions surrounding its independence due to how strongly aligned GAISF now is with the IOC and other sporting bodies.
The new ethics panel is one of a number of ideas being proposed by GAISF as a means to offer more services to their member sports.
The DFSU is now in the process of being shifted away from the umbrella organisation under the auspices of the new Independent Testing Agency.
"We've been asked by the Winter Federations to set-up an external independent Ethics Commission," GAISF President Patrick Baumann told insidethegames.
"We are considering this.
"Whether we are able to do it, we're progressing slowly and getting better.
"We will have to assess it and decide how far it could go and whether a Federation doesn't have to have its own and refers to an outside ethics panel.
"So we are considering that and we will probably have a conversation with the IFs at the General Assembly [in Bangkok on April 20]."
Baumann, who is also the International Basketball Federation secretary general and an increasingly influential IOC member, added that they will proceed depending on feedback they receive from IFs.
He admitted that critics would probably still question the independence of the panel.
"The idea is that we sort of create a list of potential judges which would be an independent list from which they choose and GAISF would operate as a secretariat from those judges and then run the case," he added.
"Obviously we want to coordinate.
"If the IFs think there is a need, we will probably set it up."