24th June 2020

WADA response to ONDCP Report

The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) shared three paragraphs of a draft of its report with WADA last week and asked us to advise them of any factual errors contained within. Even in that small excerpt, there were a number of inaccurate and misleading statements and WADA responded, suggesting various corrections. Unfortunately, not one of those corrections was included in the final report. After a detailed reading of the report in full, WADA is sorry to note that the rest of the report also contains multiple inaccuracies, misconceptions and falsehoods that will cause unnecessary misunderstanding as a result.

It is very unfortunate that the report was written without due regard for the facts or context and with the clear intention to discredit WADA. It is beyond WADA’s comprehension that such a report is produced when representatives from the U.S. Government have never raised any of these concerns around the table of the WADA Foundation Board table over the past 20 years, and actually endorsed (at the November 2018 meeting of the Foundation Board) the WADA governance reforms that are now being implemented. All U.S. interventions can be found in WADA’s Foundation Board meeting minutes that are publicly available on WADA’s website. WADA is finalizing a detailed response that will be sent to the U.S. Congress in the coming days.


The fact is that the United States is very well represented within WADA – better than any other single nation. And it always has been since the creation of WADA in 1999. The Foundation Board is WADA’s highest decision-making body and the U.S. holds a seat on it. Like other international organizations, such as the UN Security Council, individual governments do not occupy more than one seat. An individual government is either serving on the Board or it is not. It is a binary option. Throughout WADA’s 20-year existence, the United States has served continuously on the Board – one of a small handful of nations with that unique distinction. No other nation from the Americas or Europe has done that. White House ONDCP Director James Carroll’s current term representing the U.S. runs through until 2022 and is renewable.

The U.S. Government is represented on the 12-member Executive Committee through the Americas regional representative. While someone from the U.S. Government does not currently serve on the ExCo, it has represented its 42-nation region more than any other nation. In fact, for seven of the past 14 years, a representative of the U.S. Government has served on the ExCo. In February 2020, nations of the Americas region met in Ecuador for their annual inter-governmental meeting (CADE) to discuss mutual anti-doping interests, including representation on WADA’s Board and ExCo for the two-year period following the meeting. Unfortunately, the U.S. chose not to attend that meeting. The representation from the Americas on WADA’s ExCo has always been decided by the American Sports Council (CADE) during their annual meeting and the U.S. is well aware of that. WADA ExCo and Foundation Board members are appointed by their respective constituency groups, and WADA has nothing to do with the selection.

Unusually, the U.S. Government chose not to submit any nominations for U.S. members to any WADA Standing Committees for 2020. Two nominations were received from U.S. sports bodies, of which one – former track & field and bobsled star Lauryn Williams – was appointed to the Finance and Administration Committee. The primary way Committee membership is established is through nominations received from governments and sport organizations. How can they be appointed if they are not even nominated? WADA looks forward to working closely with ONDCP regarding the submission of U.S. nominations in 2021.

Notwithstanding that, when the full range of committees and advisory bodies are considered, the U.S. still has greater representation on WADA governance bodies than any other nation. Specifically, there are currently 11 U.S. representatives participating in governance roles within WADA, namely James W. Carroll, Lauryn Williams, Matthew Porteus, Lee Sweeney, Michael Culler, Thomas J. Hudzik, Marilyn Huestis, Daniel Eichner, John Lombardo, Richard Young and Matt Fedurok. And this U.S. influence is nothing new. In fact, in every year since our formation, there have been more U.S. representatives across WADA bodies than any other nation.


The notion that countries should be represented in proportion to the amount of money they provide makes no sense. To allocate seats exclusively to the highest funders would eliminate the majority of nations of the world from ever holding a seat on WADA’s Board or ExCo and would not be in line with international best practice. Would Americans support having all Members of the U.S. Congress come from just the wealthiest states?

If governments were represented in line with how much funding they provided WADA, it would bar any representation from entire continents, let alone certain nations. Countries – and not necessarily the ones with the best history of anti-doping – could effectively buy seats on WADA’s governance.

The fact is WADA is the global anti-doping regulator. As such, it monitors the implementation of the rules worldwide, not just in one or two places. WADA cannot be governed solely by the few richest countries. Athletes who compete against U.S. athletes come from all over the globe and in fairness to U.S. athletes, we want to ensure their competitors are subject to the same stringent rules as they are. To make sure that happens, there needs to be representation from all regions of the world.

The contribution of the Governments to WADA’s core budget has been determined by the governments of the world themselves, including the U.S. WADA has no say on how the governments’ contribution is divided between them. The current government funding formula was determined, agreed by the U.S., and implemented almost two decades ago (it is known as the Cape Town Declaration). The 42 Governments of North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean, including the U.S., agreed in 2002 to their continental model for their contribution to WADA. This formula was reviewed in 2008. In fact, the U.S. led the development of the regional funding formula which was agreed to unanimously within the region. If the U.S. are unhappy with their current level of funding of WADA, this is a matter they should primarily address with their fellow governments of the regions, or worldwide, rather than putting the onus on WADA, which is not involved in this process.

WADA governance reforms

The first wave of WADA’s ongoing governance reform, which was agreed by the Board in November 2018 on which the U.S. sits, has been successfully implemented and unfortunately the ONDCP report makes no mention of the considerable progress made to date. As a result of these reforms, there is now an independent President and Vice-President; a Nominations Committee (with a majority of independent members in it, all put forward by an independent recruitment firm with its headquarters in the U.S.) to ensure the right people in terms of skills and independence serve in senior governance roles; a limit of three three-year terms for the ExCo, Board and Standing Committees; and a minimum of one seat for both athlete and National Anti-Doping Organizations representation on all Standing Committees.

More reforms will follow soon, including an additional two independent seats on the Executive Committee, and the formation of an independent Ethics Board. In addition, the intention is to introduce even greater athlete representation in the near future to augment the one seat on ExCo and four seats on the Board currently occupied by athletes.

• This statement was sent by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) via email on 24 June 2020 in response to this article

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