24 October 2018

WADA denies that Moses was told to ‘shut up’

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has denied that Chair of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Ed Moses, was told to ‘shut up’ at its May Foundation Board meeting. ‘WADA’s Foundation Board meetings are open to the media and members of the public’, read an email from a WADA spokesperson. ‘Neither Mr. Moses nor anyone else was told to “shut up” at the May meeting in Montreal. Had that happened, it would have been reported by media in the room. Indeed, during the course of the meeting, Mr. Moses did speak. He delivered his report as the Chair of the Education Committee, for which he was thanked and which was duly and officially noted by the Board.’

As reported, Moses alleged that he was ‘told bluntly by various officials not to speak’ and that he ‘was told to shut up’ in an Opinion Piece for a newspaper. He did not specify whether such discussions arose in public or in private conversation. However, his Opinion Piece concerned the restatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), and his Foundation Board presentation was about education.

WADA also said that it was not its intention to patronise Victoria Aggar in a letter of response (PDF below) sent to her Public Letter expressing concerns about the reinstatement of RUSADA. Aggar, a Paralympian and member of WADA’s Athlete Committee, told ITV that she considered the letter of response, signed by WADA President Sir Craig Reedie, as patronising.

‘It is certainly not the intention of Sir Craig to patronise Ms. Aggar in his comprehensive and factual 1,200-word response to her letter’, wrote a WADA spokesperson in an email. ‘The intention is to acknowledge her concerns and fully explain the reasoning behind the carefully considered and democratic decision taken on 20 September by the WADA Executive Committee to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, under strict conditions. He explains in detail why he tells the decision is good for sport and that it protects the clean athlete.’

WADA’s letter states that the decision to reinstate RUSADA ‘was made via a democratic process’ and that whilst Aggar is entitled to a differing opinion, such a democratic process deserves ‘a minimum of consideration and some respect’. It elaborates that Beckie Scott, Chair of the Athlete Committee, initially supported the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) decision to reinstate RUSADA, and Aggar had the opportunity to raise concerns in a conference call with CRC Chair Jonathan Taylor. ‘Yet dissatisfaction has only ever been conveyed publically’, it states. Scott doesn’t dispute that she initially supported the decision to reinstate RUSADA, but in an interview with the BBC, clarified that she changed her mind once she understood the ramifications of the decision. 

‘Beyond that, he [Reedie] directly addresses her [Aggar’s] concerns about WADA independence by pointing to a process of review that is already ongoing’, continues WADA’s spokesperson in the email. ‘He says that WADA’s Athlete Committee and other athlete groups are indeed represented and active on the Governance Working Group, which is chaired by an independent person and consists of stakeholder groups as well as independent governance experts. That process is ongoing and the changes implemented will intend to ensure WADA’s governance is fit for purpose for the years to come.’

The claims made by Moses follow allegations made by Scott that she was both bullied and laughed at when presenting athlete opposition to the decision to reinstate RUSADA at WADA’s 20 September Executive Committee meeting. David Sharpe, Chief Executive of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) was the first to call for an independent investigation into Scott’s claims, followed by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and Athletes Canada. On Monday, Sport Ireland and Athletes Unite added their support. WADA has told the BBC that an independent expert will investigate such claims.

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