In the aftermath of the Independent Commission’s Report, the board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) convened yesterday in Colorado Springs, Colorado to further clarify its regulatory role, as well as review current nations’ compliance status concerning World Anti-Doping Code.
In terms of compliance, as a result of the session WADA has deemed the National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) of both Andorra and Israel as non-compliant, citing the two signatories’ lack of 2015 Code-compliant rules being in place. Of no surprise in light of the recent doping allegations unfolding, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared as non-compliant. However, Ukraine, Bolivia and Argentina were also identified as non-compliant due to the use of non-accredited laboratories, a practice prohibited under global anti-doping rules.
Said WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie, “As we have seen from WADA’s immediate response to the Independent Commission’s Report, action is now well underway to right wrongs that exist in anti-doping. Our priority is now on ensuring all our partners are fully compliant and have watertight anti-doping systems that protect clean athletes and reassure sports fans worldwide. Make no mistake, we will not rush this process of compliance, we will do it right – the integrity of sport is under threat.”
Specific to the current Russia situation, Reedie also stated that “We will conduct the necessary meetings with the Russian authorities in respect of the non-compliance status of RUSADA that tests athletes in all sports within Russia. A WADA expert team will then meet with the task of ensuring the continuation of testing in Russia. Any information brought forward to me as a result will allow me to make a considered decision on whether or not to extend the Independent Commission’s mandate.”
Along with requesting enhancements to WADA’s whistleblowing process, the Board also determined that a collection of members will form a task force to probe the IOC’s proposal that, moving forward, WADA conducts testing as an independent body. With WADA in a ‘watchdog’ role currently, the possibility of it moving into the actual drug testing realm further strengthens WADA as a true oversight entity that could potentially enforce sanctions in the future. The hope is that by WADA taking over testing responsibilities, there would be a reduction in conflict of interests, as the authority is now in the hands of individual federations and organizing committees who may have vested interests in the actual test outcomes.
The primary obstacle to enacting such a proposal is cost. “It’s certainly too much for us to do on the basis of the budget we now have,” founding WADA President and Independent Commission chair Richard Pound has told insidethegames. It may be one of these things where we actually have to punt, and say, ‘if we’re going to do a good job, this is how much it’s going to cost.'”
After initial exploration of the WADA testing proposal, the group, composed of the IOC, as well as Independent Federations, will report back on the feasibility of the potential project in May 2016 at the next WADA Foundation Board Meeting.
The entire WADA release can be read here.