The ITA's MoU with OCLAESP aims to dismantle potential doping or trafficking networks ©Getty Images

The International Testing Agency (ITA) extended its partnership with France's Central Office for the Fight against Environmental and Public Health Damage (OCLAESP), placing a key focus on the Paris 2024 Olympics.

A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the two bodies aiming to increase the efficiency of information exchange to assist with the dismantling of potential doping or trafficking networks in France or involving French citizens.

This builds on existing ties between the ITA and OCLAESP on a cycling anti-doping programme since January 2021.

Doping offences fall under OCLAESP's remit, with the central judicial police office responsible for combatting environmental and public health offences.

The chair of the ITA's Foundation Board Valérie Fourneyron argued that the strengthening of the partnership is pivotal with a view to delivering an effective anti-doping programme at Paris 2024.

"The signing of this collaboration agreement between OCLAESP and the ITA today is of twofold importance," the former French minister of Sport insisted.

"First, it clearly shows that anti-doping efforts are only effective when they are comprehensive.

"Building intelligence and investigations capacities, also within the ITA, and exchanging information with relevant partners and authorities, is as much a part of anti-doping operations as testing or education.

"Secondly, today’s signing with OCLAESP underlines that effective anti-doping is based on effective cooperation across borders and sports with trustworthy partners.

ITA chair Valérie Fourneyron said the MoU
ITA chair Valérie Fourneyron said the MoU "underlines that effective anti-doping is based on effective cooperation across borders and sports" ©Getty Images

"And the cooperation with national authorities and police is key when it comes to enforcing anti-doping on the ground.

"That is why I am very proud that today the organisation I chair and the authorities in my home country are setting an example by entering into such a partnership for clean sport.

"This collaboration will be particularly important as the ITA is getting ready to deliver its anti-doping programme at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in close cooperation with several other French entities."

General Directorate of the National Gendarmerie director of operations and employment Olivier Kim said: "The national gendarmerie, with the OCLAESP in the forefront, is very proud to commit itself alongside world-renowned partners, such as the ITA, in the fight against doping in high-level sport in the run-up to the biggest global sporting event, the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

"This fight requires a high level of technicality, expertise and real determination to detect doping networks, investigate their activities and prevent them from carrying out their actions.

"This collaboration between the ITA and the OCLAESP is therefore unavoidable and even obvious to achieve these objectives."

The ITA managed independent anti-doping programmes on behalf of the International Olympic Committee at Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, and is "currently preparing our anti-doping activities for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics".

Paris is due to host the Olympics for the third time from July 26 to August 11 2024.