Press releases 6th November 2018

Two-time World Champion Matthew Glaetzer joins growing cast of elite athletes calling for change at World Anti-Doping Agency

• Two-time World Champion and three-time Commonwealth Champion Cyclist Matthew Glaetzer joins growing club of elite athletes calling for overhaul of WADA Governance
• 26-year-old Australian says a “proper rethink” by WADA on its insufficient, minor governance changes is a question of “when” not “if”; officially endorses athlete-led anti-doping reform Paper The Alternative
• Glaetzer questions current unwillingness of global regulator to listen to growing clamour for change. “We reformers consist of athletes, national anti-doping leaders, governments and some in sport – we are the majority, not the minority as WADA would like to paint us. It is time to listen to our views”
• “WADA needs to move with the times and with the clear move in athlete and public opinion’s demand for change. Organisations that fail to change often don’t survive – so it’s time for WADA to listen and learn”.

Two-time World Champion Cyclist Matthew Glaetzer has today joined a fast-growing club of elite athletes – comprising Olympic, Paralympic, World and Commonwealth Champions – calling for a major overhaul of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) governance structure. Glaetzer is the latest in a series of athletes to officially endorse the athlete-led anti-doping Reform Paper, The Alternative, calling the Paper “the obvious sensible answer to the current global distrust in WADA’s decision-making abilities.”

“The current WADA Crisis, and the widespread distrust that has spread globally in recent months, means WADA now needs to commit to a proper rethink on the insufficient, minor governance changes it recently proposed. With athletes, leaders, politicians and even sports fans now speaking up on a daily basis against the direction of WADA Leadership, it is a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’ WADA commits to this rethink,” said Glaetzer.

The Reform Paper was launched by Rio 2016 Para-Powerlifting Silver Medallist Ali Jawad on 9 October and has since been officially supported by Olympic Champion racewalker Jared Tallent and Olympic Champion Cyclist Callum Skinner. Titled The Alternative: Reforming WADA’s Governance for a new Anti-Doping Age, the Paper is the culmination of a series of ideas and proposals considered over the last couple of years by members of the athlete community and focusses on three core areas where WADA can improve: greater accountability, more transparency, and proper independence. The Alternative calls for the sport and government representatives on the influential WADA Executive Committee to be replaced by fully independent members; and for future WADA Presidents to be selected as ‘independents’, instead of alternating the Presidency from the worlds of sport and government.

At the heart of the The Alternative is a new governance structure for WADA, consisting of three central bodies: a Foundation Board to be led by a fully independent President and Vice President; an overhauled 15-person Executive Committee, consisting of 12 members entirely independent from the worlds of government or sport (i.e. members selected from the worlds of government or sport (i.e. members selected from professional industries across broader society, to include the independent President and Vice President) and 3 athlete members; and an all-new Governance and Nominations Committee, comprising 5 independent members and 2 WADA Athlete Committee members, that would oversee the representation and assessment of both the Foundation Board and Executive Committee, and in turn ensure that there is much greater scrutiny of the decision-making process that impacts the lives of athletes worldwide.

With WADA under increasing pressure from all quarters to become a body more in-touch with athlete and public opinion worldwide, Glaetzer had a clear message for the global regulator to listen to the growing international clamour for change. “Recently, it appears that, rather than listening and focussing on peoples’ positive and forward-looking solutions for how the regulator can improve, WADA leadership has instead detracted from this and focussed on criticising athletes, national anti-doping leaders and others– the very people trying to improve WADA and make the agency a much better version of itself.

“We reformers consist of athletes, national anti-doping leaders, governments and sports fans, and we all want to improve WADA so that it is more in tune with modern society’s needs and athletes’ rights. WADA must know that we are the majority, not a minority as WADA would like to paint us. It is time to listen to our views and not attack or belittle us any longer.”

Glaetzer also stated that the unprecedented outpouring of the athlete voice is only the beginning. “As a result of recent actions by the global regulator, athletes have found their voice. We stand united with national anti-doping leaders, governments and sports fans worldwide in calling for WADA not isolate itself with the International Olympic Committee any further. The athlete voice will only continue to grow, particularly if we fail to see a change in direction from WADA. Good organisations listen, learn and grow – and that’s what we want WADA to do as a matter of urgency,” he added.

“I encourage my fellow athletes to back the proposals set out in The Alternative, and that includes the athletes on the IOC Athletes Commission who currently differ from the remainder of global athlete opinion. This is our ‘olive branch’ to them [the IOC Athlete Commission members] to come on board, join the majority of international athletes and support these “logical and pragmatic” changes. If you truly believe in clean sport, The Alternative is the answer.

The WADA Foundation Board meet in Azerbaijan on 15 November, and on behalf of the global athlete community, Skinner, Tallent and Jawad are urging WADA to start engaging with The Alternative and to rethink the Agency’s current proposals which fall well short of athletes’ demands.

• This media release was published by Athletes for Clean Sport on 6 November 2018. Click here for the original; click here for a Summary Paper of The Alternative: Reforming WADA’s Governance for a new Anti-Doping Age; and click here for the detailed version of the paper.

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