Tuesday, February 2, 1999 Published at 18:33 GMT
Olympics chief under fire
Mr Samaranch is under pressure to introduce fundamental reforms
The President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, has come in for severe criticism from European ministers and the US over the bribery allegations surrounding the 2002 Winter Games.
The American drug policy director, Barry McCaffrey, suggested that Mr Samaranch should resign following the scandal and said his failure of leadership had challenged the legitimacy of the IOC.
Speaking at the conference the UK's Minister of Sport, Tony Banks, demanded changes to the way the Olympic movement is run. "The British Government expects the IOC to clean up its act," he said in comments addressed directly at the IOC president.
Opening the conference, Mr Samaranch referred to the crisis facing the IOC saying that "all the necessary measures" had been taken and investigations were "continuing to ensure that Olympic ethics are respected".
He then tried to move the focus on to the intended issue of performance enhancing drugs in sport, branding the growing problem an "odious and unhealthy form of cheating."
The Olympics chief called the anti-doping conference following revelations of widespread drug use in last year's Tour de France. But now the Olympics faces its own scandal and many conference delegates said the credibility of its officials has been brought into question.
Mr Samaranch said the agency should be run by a board of directors including Olympic officials, scientists, governmental organisations and representatives of pharmaceutical companies.
There is also disagreement on new measures for punishing drug cheats.
The conference will also hear a proposal that athletes found guilty of serious offences involving steroids or other major drugs should face fines of up to $1m and a life ban.
A first intentional abuse of stimulants would result in a two-to-eight year ban and a fine of up to $100,000.