30 Oct 2018

WADA needs reform according to national anti-doping agencies

6:18 am on 30 October 2018

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) urgently needs reform in order to best serve clean athletes following the decision to reinstate Russia's testing body, according to leaders of 18 national anti-doping organisations.

World Anti-Doping Agency.

World Anti-Doping Agency. Photo: WADA

The group met at an emergency summit in Paris following last month's decision by WADA to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) which was suspended in 2015 after evidence of doping in Russian sport was published in the McLaren Report.

The lifting of RUSADA's ban opened a pathway for Russia to compete in international sport again, a possibility that has led to criticism from international athletes.

A WADA governance group last week made recommendations to update the organisation of the body, but the national anti-doping agencies said these reforms did not go far enough.

"Given the athletes' concerns in WADA's decision-making and governance process, and after all that we have regrettably witnessed in the wake of the Russian doping crisis, WADA's limited proposals for governance reform fall far short of what the world's athletes and other champions of clean sport have been calling for these past two years, and there should be a rethink," the anti-doping agency leaders said in a statement.

"We urge WADA not to repeat the mistakes it made in the process to reinstate RUSADA, and to conduct its actions in a more transparent and open fashion.

"WADA will rise once again, but only when it embraces global athlete community concerns."

Drug Free Sport New Zealand CEO Nick Paterson is one of the 18 International Anti-Doping leaders supporting the commitments. "Kiwi athletes deserve to know that the rules are applied to everyone equally, no matter who you are, and that the system is robust." He says he feels an obligation to Kiwi athletes to hold other countries to account. "We're fighting as hard as we can to give Kiwi athletes and sports fans confidence in the world anti-doping system."

WADA's leadership is set to change next year when president Craig Reedie steps down at the end of his second term in office.

WADA president Craig Reedie

WADA president Craig Reedie Photo: WADA

The body has previously said failure to allow access to stored urine samples at the Moscow anti-doping laboratory by the year's end would lead to a renewed ban for RUSADA.

WADA's governance group will present its recommendations to its foundation board at meetings in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Nov. 15.