Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
• Special leadership Summit held in Dublin, Ireland
• In light of the second McLaren Report, leaders call for the exclusion of Russian sports organizations at all international competitions – with a uniform process for athletes to compete as neutrals until substantive progress in reform efforts are made
• Leaders also call for the removal of all major international competitions, as well a moratorium on the awarding of new competitions to Russia
• Leaders endorse WADA as global regulator and offer support for ongoing reform efforts
• Leaders reject concept of a new one size fits all, global “Independent Testing Authority” controlled by sport and consider guidelines for development of independent testing authorities to manage anti-doping responsibilities formerly conducted by International Federations (IFs)
Following the devastating evidence of wide-spread systemic corruption exposed by the second McLaren Report, leaders from 19 National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) came together for a special summit, hosted by Sport Ireland, with hopes to restore the faith of clean athletes and to ensure that the integrity of sport is never again brought into such disrepute.
“With the best interests of clean athletes at heart, it is our hope that these proposals will help sport move past these dark times and pave a path towards a brighter future – one where the promise of clean competition is fulfilled,” said the leaders in a joint statement. “But in order to do so, steps must be taken, and it is imperative that those responsible for Russia’s state-supported system are held accountable, that calls for a truly independent anti-doping model are finally heeded and those athletes affected by this abhorrent behavior are given back at least some of what was taken from them.”
Meeting for the third time in six months, the NADO leadership group once again reaffirmed commitment to the Copenhagen Reform Proposals, a series of urgent reforms brought forth last August following the release of the initial McLaren Report, while calling on the international sport community to bolster anti-doping efforts and restore athlete’s faith in fair competition around the globe. With new, irrefutable evidence of Russia’s institutionalized doping system uncovered by McLaren and his team, the leadership group has called for the exclusion of Russian sport organizations from all international competition until the sport and anti-doping systems in Russia are brought into full compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. However, in line with the approach taken by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and with the understanding that there may be some Russian athletes who have been subject to the robust anti-doping practices of other countries, the leadership group has offered to help in applying standardized criteria by which athletes can be assessed in order to compete as neutrals.
The leaders have also called for IFs and other major event organizers to remove all international competitions currently set to take place in Russia, as well as a moratorium on awarding any new competitions to the country. In an attempt to prevent the type of malfeasance seen in Russia, NADO leaders advocate for a more independent global anti-doping model. The leadership group re-affirms its position that all anti-doping organisations, including the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), should be independent and adopt the necessary reforms, including a proposal that no decision-maker within an anti-doping organization hold a policy-making position within a sport or event organizer.
While there was continued recognition of the value in maintaining close collaboration with sport – especially in regard to anti-doping education, funding and intelligence sharing – the leaders stand firm that investigatory, testing and results management functions be separate from sports organisations. These reforms would help prevent the inherent conflict of interest that exists when a sports organisation is tasked with both promoting and policing itself.
NADO leaders also recognize the need for a system of checks and balances with greater transparency for anti-doping efforts in international sport. International athletes should be subject to harmonized and robust testing from independent national anti-doping organizations and anti-doping organizations overseen by WADA in order to ensure fairness.
Lastly, with many IFs now facing extensive evidence of doping and cover-ups following the publication of McLaren’s efforts, the NADO leaders look to WADA, the global regulator, to monitor and act – as required by the Code and UNESCO Treaty Against Doping in Sport – to ensure evidence is investigated and appropriate consequences are applied. While those affected athletes can never reclaim the moments that were stolen from them, the international community must do everything in its power to honour these victims and ensure justice for them. Including, if it is the athlete’s wish, the opportunity to have a formal medal ceremony conducted at the Olympic Games or World Championship following the approval of medal re-allocation.
Former Irish international race walker Olive Loughnane was one of those affected athletes, having seen her 2009 World Championship medal upgraded from silver to gold in 2016. Today she backed the NADOs work in bringing about change to the anti-doping system: “As an athlete, I was shocked and appalled following the revelations in the McLaren Report that those tasked with the protection of clean athletes and the integrity of sport were in fact aiding and abetting deception of a seismic nature. I welcome the important work of the National Anti Doping Organisations and their calls for reform. Strong action needs to be taken to ensure a message is sent out to all that doping is sport is completely unacceptable.” The proposals were written and endorsed by anti-doping leaders from around the world, including: Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.
• This joint media release was originally published by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on 10 January 2017. To access the original, please click here.
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