9 October 2018

Rio 2016 Silver Medalist Ali Jawad unveils athlete-led Proposals for “logical and pragmatic” governance reform of World Anti-Doping Agency

• Ali Jawad suggests “fully independent” members replace sport and government representatives on the influential WADA Executive Committee
• Ineffective, unrepresentative and out-of-touch WADA governance currently “the number one impediment to a successful and healthy anti-doping system”, adds Briton
• Jawad says proposals will put an end to the “perilously low level of trust in the anti-doping system”

Rio 2016 Para-Powerlifting Silver Medalist Ali Jawad today unveiled athlete-led plans for logical and pragmatic reform of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) governance structure. The published paper, The Alternative: Reforming WADA’s Governance for a new Anti-Doping Age, is the culmination of a series of ideas and proposals considered over the last couple of years by members of the athlete community. 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 Paper 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 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 are greater “checks and balances” of the decision-making process that impacts the lives of athletes worldwide.

In releasing The Alternative, Rio 2016 Silver Medalist Jawad describes WADA’s governance crisis as “the number one impediment to a successful and healthy anti-doping system”; and states that WADA’s current decision-making structure – as highlighted through the Agency’s controversial and globally unpopular decision to alter its own Roadmap and reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) last month – is ineffective, unrepresentative and out-of-touch with the needs and requirements of the modern clean sport movement.

“The recent decision by WADA to alter the conditions of its Roadmap for Russian Compliance was almost unanimously condemned by the international athlete community,” said Jawad. “This divisive decision has hastened the need for far-reaching reform of WADA’s decision-making bodies, and that is why today – following a number of ideas and suggestions made by athletes over the last couple of years – I am unveiling logical and pragmatic solutions to a very real and current problem. I hope that The Alternative will create the necessary open and transparent debate that can lead to the change that WADA and sport so desperately needs,” added Jawad.

In a sign of an emerging athlete-led effort to reform the WADA-led anti-doping system, Jawad also today called on the WADA Governance Review Committee to make its meeting and discussions public in future, describing the current “behind closed doors” process as unacceptable to the international athlete community and out of keeping with modern best practice for transparency. “At a time when trust in the decision-making process for anti-doping, and sport more broadly, is perilously low, we should be doing everything in our power to restore trust, not erode it further,” he said.

“That is why athletes want to lead by example and publish this Reform Paper today; and it is why, on behalf of athletes, I am calling on the WADA Governance Review Committee – which has a crucial meeting 13 days from now – to commit to the same level of transparency. Athlete and public confidence in the future of anti-doping depends on the administrators doing it right, and we have not a moment to lose to restore the reputation of our cherished clean sport cause,” he added. The WADA Governance Review Committee is holding a significant meeting on 22 October, and on behalf of the global athlete community Jawad expects that through today’s release of The Alternative, the Committee will engage in debate and discussion concerning the proposals both prior to the meeting, and then in the lead up to the next WADA Foundation Board Meeting on 15 November in Azerbaijan.

• This media release was sent via email by Athletes for Clean Sport on 9 October 2018. ‘The Alternative: Reforming WADA’s Governance for a new Anti-Doping Age’ is available by clicking here.

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