25 November 2021

WADA Foundation Board’s Governance Reforms criticised

The Governance Reforms scheduled to be approved during the second day of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board meeting today have been criticised by the World Players Association (WPA), Global Athlete, the Athletics Association, Athleten Deutschland, and the International Swimmers Alliance. WADA’s proposed Reforms faced criticism from the WPA for maintaining a ‘conflicted governance structure’, marginalising the voice of athletes, failing to consider the human rights of athletes or reform of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The WPA accused WADA of rejecting its proposals (here and here), which it outlined in a table (PDF below).

Global Athlete, the Athletics Association, Athleten Deutschland, and the International Swimmers Alliance labelled WADA’s Governance Reform proposals as ‘smoke and mirrors’. The bodies said that athletes had ‘lost confidence’ in WADA, adding that meaningful change requires an independent Executive Committee that includes athlete representatives. 

‘WADA should neither be controlled nor governed by anyone who has a stake in the economics of sports competition if they are to be considered legitimate’, read a statement. ‘The many conflicted actors with divided loyalties to sport and government is particularly evident at the Executive Committee level. These conflicts of interest have undermined WADA’s effectiveness and have been repeatedly exposed over the past several years with these very same conflicted actors rendering anti-doping decisions based on politics, not principle.’

The Governance Reforms are being discussed today, during the second day of WADA’s Foundation Board meeting. Other items on today’s agenda include:

• WADA Code of Ethics/Independent Ethics Board;
• 2022 Budget;
• Thailand NADO – recommendation of non-compliance;
• Summary of compliance cases;
• Athlete Ombudsman proposal;
• RUSADA update;
• IWF update;
• Possible consequences due to the Unilateral Withdrawal of Funding proposed by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

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