The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has decided to release the final $1.3 million of the US Government’s $2.9 million contribution to the WADA budget. This brings to an end a conflict between the White House and WADA that dates back to June of 2020.
The US Government originally threatened to withdraw WADA funding due to WADA’s response to the Russian doping scandal and later called for reforms to WADA. In November 2021, WADA approved reforms to WADA’s governance structure, which WADA claimed would better represent athletes and National Anti-Doping Organizations. WADA also approved a Code of Ethics and the creation of an Independent Ethics Board.
The Associated Press, however, reported that the money was given despite “major misgivings” from the White House.
The issues between WADA and the US Government began back in June 2020, when the White House threatened to withdraw WADA funding due to WADA’s response to the Russian doping scandal. At the time, the ONDCP wrote that “America’s athletes, as well as all of the world’s clean athletes, need and deserve our urgent intervention to make WADA independent of conflicts of interests, more effective in protecting clean athletes, and more capable of standing up against institutionalized doping.”
In November of 2020, SwimSwam reported that WADA and the ONDCP held a virtual meeting that both sides saw as “positive”. A joint statement released by WADA and the ONDCP stated that, “In what was a very positive meeting, the two organizations agreed that the U.S. Government was vital for the protection of clean sport around the world, and that they would pursue strong and open bilateral communication going forward.”
Five months after the “positive” meeting, the USOPC and USADA called for reforms to WADA in April 2021. The statement released by the USOPC and USADA said that the proposed reforms “are intended to make it clear that WADA must change and become a strong, independent anti-doping regulator and protector of clean athlete’s rights. All athletes have been promised the opportunity for a fair, safe, and level-playing field and WADA must transform itself immediately to deliver on this agreement.”
SwimSwam reported in May 2021 that the United States continued to withhold its funding from WADA. At that time, the US Government softened their demands to WADA. Originally, the United States wanted to be part of the 14-member Executive Committee, but in May they changed this to a desire to “open a dialogue”.
The total amount of each government’s contribution is available on WADA’s website.