WADA Could Bar Team USA From Olympics If U.S. Withdraws Funding

Earlier this summer, the U.S. government threatened to withdraw funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Now, WADA has fired back with the possibility of leaving U.S. athletes out of international events.

In June, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released a 19-page report criticizing WADA’s response to the Russian doping scandal and threatening to pull U.S. funding of WADA. The U.S. is the biggest government contributor to WADA funding, giving $2.7 million each year, and argued that nations should be represented in WADA in proportion to their funding level.

But WADA told the Reuters news service that pulling funding could have a ripple effect on American athletes.

WADA president Witold Banka told Reuters that a number of world governments are urging WADA to consider an amendment tying financial contributions to anti-doping compliance. A government not paying its WADA contribution “could lead directly to that country’s NADO (National Anti-Doping Organization) being declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code,” per Reuters.

“The consequences of a withdrawal of WADA funding by the U.S. could be more severe and far reaching for American athletes,” Banka said. “Inevitably, this could have serious repercussions for athletes from that country including their participation in major international sporting events.”

United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) president Travis Tygart called it an empty threat.

“To threaten one country’s athletes over WADA’s failed governance model is pretty remarkable and disappointing,” Tygart said. “WADA is very threatened and rattled but to illegally threaten U.S. athletes is shameful.”

The White House was critical of WADA’s response to Russia’s ongoing doping scandal.

WADA declared Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA) non-compliant in late 2019. That bans Russia from international competition for four years. Russia cannot host major international sporting events, and Russian representatives cannot serve in administrative functions within sports federations during the four years. However, Russian athletes can still compete in major events – just not under the Russian flag.

U.S. funding of WADA accounts for less than .00006% of the federal government’s budget. You can see the full list of nations that fund WADA here.

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3 years ago

The article doesn’t make it clear in what way the US Government was critical of WADA… not doing enough to punish Russia or punishing Russia too much?

It’s up to the reader to fill in that information depending on their point of view? That’s Yellow Journalism.

It would be wise to clear this up inside the story, few people follows links, to avoid speculation and ignorant partisan commentary.

Last edited 3 years ago by john
Corn Pop
3 years ago

The 5 Eyes lost control of WADA when they had to hand i t over to a hoped for proxy Poland . As history shows when you are left with the Poland card , things go RIP. .1996-2019 .It was a good run but all things must end

What P********t T***p has done is strip away the facade . US has always used it’s economic might for influence but now the US demands compliance & value ( with interest ) for historic $$ contributions . Be it NATO, Japan., EU , UN , multitudes of international orgs , the US is extracting what it can whilst it can. .

The problem is they currently need WADA for international… Read more »

3 years ago

If that is the stands they are taking, that should then apply to all countries, look through the list and there are a lot of countries that did not pay what they were billed.

3 years ago

MAGA? Vote this poison out of office.

Hank Monroe
Reply to  Snarky
3 years ago

What would be your response? Keep giving them money and hope they make some changes? Perhaps a sternly worded letter to them would help?

3 years ago

Agree with USADA and good for Travis Tygart to call it out. Also, doesn’t matter how much WADA accounts for the US gov’ts funding doesn’t mean the US should continue giving them money if they don’t agree with how the organization is conducting it’s operations. Not sure why this continues to be called out.

3 years ago

As Tygert points out, it takes some real chutzpah by WADA to make such a threat.

3 years ago

“The U.S. is the biggest government contributor to WADA funding, giving $2.7 million each year, and argued that nations should be represented in WADA in proportion to their funding level.”

I’m all for the US criticizing the shortcomings of WADA, but the idea of the few rich countries who already dominate most sports also controlling doping regulation is worrying.

I also think the US underestimates how much money Russia might pour in to aid their own interests…

3 years ago

Pull the network tv coverage and advertising rev the Olympic Movement makes. That’ll make ’em blink

Reply to  Zaq
3 years ago

NBC paid something like 1.2 Billion in television rights for London alone. Television rights will be an even bigger playing card if spectators aren’t allowed or curtailed.

Book it!
Reply to  Scoobysnak
3 years ago

Don’t think that’s accurate. It sure isn’t panning out that way for the NBA. No fans = less tv audience. Or maybe it’s because they’ve turned into a social justice warriors instead of basketball players!

Reply to  Book it!
3 years ago

The difference is the NBA is having an abbreviated season and is normally a sport where tons of people get to go and watch- both things that affect viewer excitement. The Olympics largely a bunch of sports people only watch once every 4 years and is already based heavily in tv viewership for obvious reasons (travel and ticket availability). I doubt the millions of folks who view swimming during the Olympics care if there is an audience or not.

Reply to  Blackflag82
3 years ago

There’s actually data to suggest that the lower numbers in the NBA is attributed to the hyper-political statements they are making as well as the fact there are no fans, home games, and abbreviated season.

Reply to  CA_LAWYER
3 years ago

Sure, so still with my original point that the NBA’s ratings are not a good indicator of what Olympic ratings would look like.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Blackflag82
3 years ago

I would tend to agree that based on what’s happened with football over the past few years and also the NBA and MLB this year, that a case could be made that once you start making social or political statements during events it seems to result in a ratings decline. Hard to say if this would apply to the Olympics on a global stage.

Reply to  Zaq
3 years ago

WADA is not funded by the TV revenue, IOC is and several other areas are.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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