WADA falling short of genuine reforms

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie addresses an anti-doping conference

Doping

WADA falling short of genuine reforms

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have been accused of a lack of independence following their decision to reinstate Russia last month. They are responding with proposals to change their governance. These are far more limited than many athletes desire.

Possible changes were discussed at a meeting in Lausanne this week and will now be proposed as one package of reforms for approval by the Foundation Board in Baku on November 15.

According to information received by the ARD Doping Editorial Team, no significant changes will be proposed to the composition of this 38-member Foundation Board. This is because sporting and Government representatives - who each constitute 50 per cent of its members - proved unwilling to concede any power.

Two new "independent" members are expected to be added to the Executive Committee, however, to supplement the President, vice-president and five representatives apiece for sport and public authorities. These two figures are expected to have no link either to the sports world or to a Government. Yet sporting and public authorities will each be responsible for proposing one candidate, thus questioning their true independence.

A yet-to-be-formed WADA Nominations Committee would then assess the suitability and independence of those proposed. This process is not likely to be completed until after a new WADA President has been installed in November 2019.

An independent President?

A proposal is also expected to be made for an “independent” WADA President and vice-president, although this would be a longer-term idea which would probably not materialise until 2025. This is because public authorities are keen to first have a President from their camp following the six-year tenure of International Olympic Committee member Sir Craig Reedie.

The Executive Committee is considered the most influential WADA body responsible for key decisions such as the controversial reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency last month in Seychelles. There will be no additional athlete representatives on the body.

There will also be no voting figures representing drug-testing laboratories or National Anti-Doping Agencies.

It comes at a time of unprecedented tensions across the anti-doping landscape after the Russian reinstatement was criticised by NADOs and athlete groups.

A new group, entitled “Athletes for Clean Sport”, had published a Working Paper earlier this month calling for far more radical changes such as an Executive Committee consisting of 12 independent and three athlete members.

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No radical changes

WADA are expected to make clear that additional athletes will be considered for the Executive Committee only following changes to the current representation of athletes internationally. This appears to be a concession to the IOC, who have repeatedly criticised the appointed nature of the WADA athlete panel in comparison with their own Athletes’ Commission, of which two thirds of the members are elected.

At present, the only athlete representative on the WADA Executive Committee is Danka Bartekova, the Slovakian shooter who is present as a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Beckie Scott, the WADA Athletes’ Commission chair, also attends meetings in a non-voting capacity. Scott, who has been at the forefront of criticisms over the Russian doping decision, has accused Olympic Movement representatives of bullying following exchanges in the Seychelles.

The WADA Governance Group are, however, expected to propose new athlete representatives across WADA’s standing committees, all of which address a specific aspect of the anti-doping landscape.

Other changes are expected to include the introduction of a new WADA ethics panel responsible for internal disciplinary procedures.

Author: Nick Butler

Stand: 24.10.2018, 17:00

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