Press releases 3rd January 2019

Open Letter to the Chair of WADA Compliance Committee, Mr. Jonathan Taylor

• Why has your Committee not called an immediate meeting to reimpose Russia’s suspension?

Dear Mr. Taylor,

It is now more than two days since WADA’s so-called “hard deadline” has passed for WADA to obtain the anti-doping data from the Moscow Laboratory, yet WADA and the Compliance Committee that you lead have remained completely silent in the face of what is the biggest crisis the global regulator has ever faced and following the biggest scandal in sporting history. You can understand why the world’s athletes and sports fans are completely bewildered at this out-of-touch behaviour, and the constant secretive backroom deals and compromises by your parent body WADA at a time when they expect decisive leadership and action.

Mr. Taylor, a deadline is a deadline and there have now been over two days since your deadline has passed – the world is waiting for your Committee to act and serve justice on the state that perpetrated the worst doping scandal of all time – I repeat, the biggest doping scandal of all time. There has been unprecedented outcry from the world’s athletes, sports fans, anti-doping leaders and even the WADA Vice President Linda Helleland calling for your Compliance Committee to convene an immediate meeting without delay so that the nation that perpetrated this grotesque doping fraud can be suspended, as per the rules. Yet, there has been complete silence from your Committee ­until today in the media when you claim to have delayed the process because of the need to ‘ensure that there was time for a full report to be provided by the Wada compliance taskforce’. To be candid, and I believe I speak for the clear majority outside the WADA bubble, I must say it as it is: this is nothing but obscene bureaucracy and hiding behind “due process”; only a few months ago we heard that a failure from Russia to meet the rules would result in immediate non-compliance following 31 December.

The global athlete and sports fan community still believes WADA and the International Olympic Committee have not served Russia with proper punishment following the biggest doping scandal ever; and your recent comments to media will only further fuel that overwhelming belief that justice has not been served, and that politics have been placed above principle for a global superpower. Mr. Taylor, this is about putting principle first, doing the right thing and being on the right side of history.

Athletes are well aware that the WADA Compliance Committee has the power to call an immediate meeting without delay – it has done so before, and so I ask you why is the biggest state-sponsored doping scandal of all time, and the biggest moment in WADA’s history with the world’s eyes on the global regulator not the time to call an urgent meeting?

On a recurring – almost daily – basis, Craig Reedie’s WADA is bringing its own reputation to the ground by its cosy relationship with Russia and the unpopular International Olympic Committee. At each and every turn, Reedie’s WADA has made a concerted effort to side with systematic cheating instead of clean athletes – you surely can understand why this shocks and perplexes athletes all across the world. If your Compliance Committee is independent from WADA’s leadership as it is meant to be, why don’t you act independently and reimpose the suspension without delay, as was made clear back in September?

By not acting, and by dragging heels, WADA and your Compliance Committee is showing itself to be siding with the cheats instead of the honest athletes, and by doing everything within its power to help the nation that committed doping fraud. Mr. Taylor, you’ll understand why the athlete community believes WADA is intent on showing that there is one set of rules for itself and quite another for athletes; if athletes are rightly expected to play by the rules, then why is WADA now making a habit of moving the goal posts? 

Mr. Taylor, on behalf of the world’s athletes and clean sport supporters, can you categorically and publicly confirm that the Compliance Committee is truly independent from WADA and is under no pressure from President Reedie, Director Niggli or others to delay its meeting until 14 January? Can you also categorically and publicly confirm that with your lack of calling an urgent Compliance Committee meeting – as is completely within your power to do – Russia has not been given a two-week extension to provide the data until 14 January? If Russia has been given an extension, as WADA subtly suggested in its statement on New Year’s Day, then that makes the so-called 31 December “hard deadline” a farce, does it not? A deadline must always be a deadline – not least when set by the global anti-doping regulator.

As a matter of reputation of your Compliance Committee, the world’s athletes urge you to do what is right and ethical by sticking to the deadline that was imposed, and that has now passed – anything else is a travesty for sport, and will regrettably bring down the Compliance Committee’s reputation along with WADA’s. Anything else than ethical and transparent action will further ruin WADA’s reputation in a week when it has reached rock bottom.

 Any further delays by your Committee simply says one thing: we have sided with the cheats over the honest athletes. Surely that is not a reputation with which you wish your Committee to be known.

Yours sincerely

Sebastian Samuelsson

• This Open Letter was sent by Sebastian Samuelsson to The Sports Integrity Initiative on 3 January 2019. Click here to read a 4 January reply from Jonathan Taylor, Chair of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee; and click here to read a 7 January Open Letter of response to Taylor from Samuelsson.

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