The FIH has signed a four-year contract with the ITA ©FIH

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has signed a four-year contract with the International Testing Agency (ITA), which will see its entire anti-doping programme transferred to the organisation.

The FIH is the latest Olympic federation to transfer its anti-doping programme to the ITA, although the governing body will remain in charge of the results management process.

The organisations said there will be a transitional phase until the end of 2020, which will see the ITA initially manage the FIH’s out-of-competition testing activities.

From the beginning of 2021 the ITA will assume responsibility for the overall programme, including in- and out-of-competition testing, the athlete blood passport administration, therapeutic use exemption management, risk assessment, test distribution planning, whereabouts and compliance management.

The ITA is expected to roll out an education programme for the FIH as part of the agreement.

"We are very pleased to announce this partnership with the ITA, which is part of our continuing efforts to maintain a world-class anti-doping programme for hockey around the world," FIH chief executive Thierry Weil said.

"Using this independent agency of anti-doping experts will ensure we continue to be at the forefront of efforts to educate our athletes and maintain the integrity of our competitions."

The ITA runs anti-doping programmes for more than 45 International Federations and organisers of major events.

The governing bodies of boxing, judo, gymnastics, table tennis and weightlifting are among those to have partnered with the ITA.

The International Cycling Union announced earlier this year it would transfer its operations from the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation to the ITA from 2021, with a cycling unit set to be established.

The ITA will assume responsibility for hockey's anti-doping programme from the start of 2021 ©ITA
The ITA will assume responsibility for hockey's anti-doping programme from the start of 2021 ©ITA

ITA director general Benjamin Cohen has welcomed the FIH as the latest Olympic federation to partner with the organisation.

"The ITA is excited to welcome another team sport to the ranks of its partners," Cohen said.

"Hockey is a true global sport with both strong female and male teams, and a sport with a long Olympic tradition.

"The delegation of its global anti-doping programme shows the federation’s commitment to fair play and means that the FIH will profit from the ITA’s knowledge and expertise.

"We will tailor our anti-doping program to the specificities of hockey, but the FIH will also be able to access solutions and intelligence from the other sports the ITA partners with."

The ITA began operations in June 2018, with its creation having been approved by the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board in July 2017.