Glasgow: In the meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Foundation Board, on November 20, a series of recommendations were approved to make the agency better. The decisions ranged from compliance and governance to investigations and whistle-blowing.
In the meeting held today, the Board re-elected the WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie, to continue further with a new three-year term. Along with Reedie, the Board accepted the new Vice President, Ms. Linda Hofstand Helleland, who came in as the governments’ choice replacement following the passing of former Vice President, Rev. Dr. Makhenkesi Stofile in August 2016. Helleland, the Norwegian Sport Minister, joins for a three-year term, in accordance with WADA rules.
Decisions & Recommendations
The Foundation Board, in their bid to cope up with the suitability of the Agency along the Agenda 2020 and specifically to safeguard the interests of clean athletes, endorsed a graded sanctioning framework for non-compliance that was put forward by the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC). The Foundation Board, composed equally of the Olympic movement and governments of the world also talked about the next steps which will involve further consultation and, once enacted, this framework will equip the anti-doping system with the ability to levy meaningful, predictable and proportionate sanctions in cases of non-compliance by anti-doping organizations (ADOs) with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).
Speaking about the change the framework will bring, Craig Reedie, WADA President, said, “WADA is pleased with this evolution, which was supported by athletes, sport and government. This framework will, not only cement the Agency’s role as the international regulator of clean sport, it will also be a game changer for the global anti-doping movement. The new framework, which will include development of an appropriate legal instrument, will involve considerable consultation with stakeholders in the coming months prior to its implementation.”
“The decision by the Board to grant WADA authority to develop a new, meaningful graded sanctioning system is welcomed by athletes; particularly, as it provides a direct answer to the call made by athletes earlier this year for a stronger, meaningful system of consequences for non-compliance,” said WADA Athlete Committee Chair, Beckie Scott. “If we all agree that WADA should be independent and empowered as the regulator of doping in sport, then how could we not agree to equip WADA with the tools it needs to do its job fully,” said Scott. “On behalf of athletes, I feel confident in saying that we are pleased that this decision has been made today in the interest of clean sport,” added Scott.
8 Steps taken to ensure a better Anti-Doping System, during the WADA Foundation Board Meeting:
- WADA Whistle-blower Program: Board Members approved the program which will take effect in early 2017 and formalize the process for protecting and offering assurance of confidentiality to whistleblowers. The proposed program will encourage athletes, administrators and others, from across all sports and countries, to raise concerns in good faith and on reasonable grounds of suspected doping, aims to provide greater assurance to, and incentivize, those individuals that come forward with valuable information. WADA will safeguard whistleblowers’ concerns; provide them with advice; keep them informed of the Agency’s investigations; and support, protect, and reward them as appropriate along the way.
- Creation of a working group: During the course of the meeting, the Board also approved creation of a working group with stakeholder representation from the governments, the sport movement, National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), athletes and other experts. This will ensure the independence of the anti-doping system from sports organizations and national governments. This working group will strengthen WADA’s governance structure and report back to the Board about governance issues; the first such reporting to be done at the next Board meeting in May 2017.
- Working Group to monitor laboratory accreditation system: In order to strengthen monitoring of the laboratory accreditation system, this working group will review accreditation process.
- Independent Testing Authority (ITA): WADA to continue the process of evaluating the establishment of ITA, requested by the Olympic Summit. WADA will sit again in May 2017 in the Foundation Board meeting to decide further on this.
- Security measures against Cyber hacking: Following the recent “hacking” attacks by cyber espionage group ‘Fancy Bears’, WADA confirmed the security measures that it had implemented to protect athletes’ personal data and the broader Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS).
- Non- Compliance of the 2015 Doping Code: Board declared three signatories (viz. National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) of Azerbaijan, Brazil and Indonesia) non-compliant with the Code with immediate effect. While Azerbaijan and Brazil were deemed not to have 2015 Code compliant legal framework in place, Indonesia was declared non-compliant as a result of using a laboratory neither accredited nor otherwise approved by WADA and not having provided evidence of this situation having been remedied. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UNESCO will further decide about the actions to be taken against the three.
- Compliance Review Committee (CRC): Board agreed to upgrade the independent CRC to a WADA standing committee, a recommendation made at the WADA Think Tank and Executive Committee meetings in September. The CRC will operate only under its own bylaws.
- RUSADA to regain Code Compliance: Vitali Smirnov, Chair of the independent Russian Commission, provided an update on Russia’s anti-doping development & the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA’s) efforts to regain compliance with the Code. The Board observed that despite some progress, there remain a number of challenges which need to be addressed in order for RUSADA to regain Code compliance.
To proceed with these steps, and reflect the significant increase in activities required, the WADA Finance Committee agreed to developing, in 2017, a draft 2018 budget that will take into consideration the new strategic activities that WADA will undertake.
Speaking about the Whistleblower Program, WADA Director General, Olivier Niggli said, “By approving the Agency’s Whistleblower Program, enhancing WADA’s investigative capacity and endorsing other measures, the Foundation Board today clearly called for the Agency to lead the way forward for the global anti-doping program. We believe that this is a significant step in securing athlete confidence and trust that the system is fit for the future and able to protect their interests.”