White House Threatens to Withdraw WADA Funding in 19-Page Report

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has threatened to withdraw funding from the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) if the global doping watchdog doesn’t implement key governance reforms.

In a 19-page report released this week, the ONDCP criticized WADA over its response to the Russian doping scandal, saying that WADA had failed to hold the Russians accountable for their actions.

The United States provides $2.7 million in funding to WADA annually, which makes it the largest government contributor to the agency’s funding. WADA receives equal funding from both governments and “the Olympic movement.”

In 2020, pledged global funding amounted to $37.4 million, of which $18.7 million came from governments.

Other large government contributors to WADA include:

  • Japan ($1.5 million);
  • Canada ($1.3 million), where WADA is headquartered;
  • France ($1.0 million)
  • Germany ($1.0 million)
  • Italy ($1.0 million)
  • Russia ($1.0 million)
  • UK ($1.0 million)
  • China ($500,000)

See WADA’s full funding list here.

This is in spite of the fact that WADA levied harsh sanctions about Russian sport in December, which included a ban on official Russian participation under the Russian flag in the Olympic Games for four years, removing major hosting rights from Russia, and blocking Russians from serving in administrative functions within international sport federations that are WADA signatories.

Russia is awaiting an appeal in front of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport of those sanctions in November.

“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,” the report concluded.

WADA responded with tension to the ONDCP, saying that the report lacked facts or context.

“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,” WADA said.

“It is beyond WADA’s comprehension that such a report is produced when representatives from the US Government have never raised any of these concerns around the table of the WADA Foundation Board table over the past 20 years.”

The ONDCP said that in conducting a study, it was unsure that it was receiving value for its contribution.

“The United States Government has a duty to ensure that American taxpayer dollars are spent effectively for the purpose to which they are appropriated,” the report said.

“American taxpayers should receive a tangible return on their investment in WADA in the form of clean sport, fair play, effective administration of the world anti-doping system and a proportionate voice in WADA decision-making.”

WADA disputed that countries should be represented in proportion to their donations, saying that it would both bar entire continents from participation in decision-making, and allow wealthy nations to have greater influence over the organization. The entire continent of Africa, for example, contributed a total of $93,612 to WADA’s overall budget in 2020.

WADA also noted that with 11 American representatives in WADA governance roles, it already had more representatives than any other nation, which has been true every year since WADA’s formation.

The ONDCP also called for reform to include independent athlete and anti-doping representatives on its committees and decision-making bodies.

The United States’ $2.7 million pledge to WADA represents less than .00006% of the federal government’s $4.8 trillion budget passed for 2020.

The United States is relatively-unique in its funding for the Olympic movement, as it is one of the few countries in the world, if not the only, where the National Olympic Committee receives no funding from the United States government.

The threats come less than a month after the United States withdrew from the World Health Organization, with similar rhetoric accusing the group of helping China cover up its role in the global coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. contributed over $400 million per year to the WHO’s annual budget previously.

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The US is throwing its toys out of the pram again. Cutting funding seems to be the only diplomacy tool this current administration knows.


It is not the federal government’s job to pay for everything. We have a massive debt because the FG is paying for things it has no business paying for. Unfortunately politics now is like voting for class president in middle school, the more free stuff you promise the more likely you are to win. And again, we are paying waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy more than the other countries. Thanks for your 500 g’s China.


And I thought it was because we gave trillions in tax cuts to big business. Fiscal hawks, what a joke they’ve become.

Justin Thompson

No, that wasn’t the reason but you can always pay more taxes if you think that’s the answer.


Math is hard, I get it.

Irish Ringer

Don’t get down on yourself SWIMPOP. Keep your head up and take some math courses when the colleges open back up.

Hank Monroe

Until Covid-19 unemployment was at historic lows, GDP was high, and the economy was booming. There’s an argument that can be made on whether or not the tax cuts balanced themselves out, but remember in the previous administration we had low GDP, high unemployment, high taxes, money was being parked offshore and the deficit was sky rocketing. I would love a flat tax for all and a balanced budget, but if the debt is going to go up regardless I would rather have the low unemployment, booming economy and high GDP.

Please and thank you

You know the recession started before Covid-19, right?


No it didn’t. That’s a flat out lie.


You’re right. We cut taxes to prop up an economy that was growing too fast for us to handle. Cutting taxes and raising spending at the same time is great for re-election causes… not so great for the future beyond the next 4 or so years.

The party divide is pretty driven on social issues instead of fiscal policy now. All of Washington wants to spend, spend, spend. Some want us to borrow it all, the other side wants to tax more and borrow a little less. Either way, both sides of the aisle ain’t doing a thing to help our national debt. Responsible fiscal policy exists in principle alone in DC, not in reality

Hank Monroe

Agree brother. Both sides since Clinton have been running up the debt. We don’t even talk about it much these days.


Sure China is underpaying big time but certainly the other countries on that list are paying more than their fair share. Surely you don’t think every country regardless of size should pay the exact same amount? I’d even say most of those countries listed are paying more than the US when controlling for population.


How do you arrive at that conclusion? Is the US using more of the WADA services than the other countries? The article clearly states that the US paid more than any other country by a large margin.


We likely do have many more athletes being tested than most countries, due to the number of elite international athletes we produce. (I have no data to back this up, but I doubt any other country has as many athletes competing at an elite overall level in sports that have to adhere to WADA standards)


Because its effective!!!!!!!!!!

Irish Ringer

Have to hand it to this administration. They are making a statement that the US is no longer the World’s piggy bank and if you want our funding then you have to show value.


Also why pay towards a system that doesn’t work?


Yet the administration wanted no oversight of the $500 billion PPP money.


Not true…at the time, the focus was getting the money to the businesses quickly, they have amended the requirements for the loans several times since the genesis of this program. Far from perfect execution, but at least they got the money out to businesses in need…


https://time.com/5852828/mnuchin-ppp-borrowers-names-secret/ Changed course after Congress said that wasn’t going to happen…..


What do you think WADA should have done to further punish Russian athletes? As the article notes, “ WADA levied harsh sanctions about Russian sport in December, which included a ban on official Russian participation under the Russian flag in the Olympic Games for four years, removing major hosting rights from Russia, and blocking Russians from serving in administrative functions within international sport federations that are WADA signatories.”

Whether or not you think that cutting funding from WADA is a good move, I don’t know what else they could have done against Russia


“The United States’ $2.7 million pledge to WADA represents less than .00006% of the federal government’s $4.8 trillion budget passed for 2020.”

Should a country pay a fixed percentage of its budget to WADA? The US is $26.5 trillion in debt, that $4.8 trillion budget needs to be cut to about $3.5 trillion to start paying down the debt. Also, before you all start chirping about who ran up the debt it’s been every administration since Clinton so there’s enough blame to go around. If this were an individuals budget they wouldn’t be committing money to optional causes when they are on the verge of going bankrupt.


Certainly it’s not the WADA contribution causing the national debt. Nor is it providing healthcare for your citizens. Where oh where could it all have gone?


No you see we can’t raise taxes on the **job creators** otherwise they’ll never let us have those sweet, sweet jobs!

Irish Ringer

If you really want to know you can find out at the link below. Also, spoiler….Medicare and Medicaid provides health care for the citizens to the tune of $1.17 trillion per year.


Hank Monroe

It’s not causing it, but it’s adding to it. In reading the article it’s more about responsible spending and not throwing money away towards an organization that didn’t meet expectations.


Hank ! My man


Maybe the US could spend less on defense….there is no need to spend over 1 Billion dollars A DAY on defense, when there is no military threat to you.


Maintaining hegemony and privilege is expensive.


But without that level of defense spending, how would all of the defense contractors continue to earn millions each year for minimal work?

I’d be more fine with our defense spending if we actually used it to benefit our soldiers. Military housing units are no better than section 9 government projects. Our enlisted soldiers live in rundown dilapidated housing. Meanwhile, defense contractors rake in millions each year due to political influence. Our defense department is the strongest in the world, but also extremely inefficient.


Protection of the citizens through a healthy local and national defense is the #1 priority of the government

Hank Monroe

How about we cut down our foreign Military presence and let everyone fend for themselves? That would save a lot of money.

The Original Tim

I fully agree with the sentiment, but the last time the US debt actually declined on an annual basis was in 1969, not 2000 (it went up ~$23B in 2000). That’s a solid 50+ years of unbalanced budgets! https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/hist07z1_fy21.xlsx

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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