Other reforms proposed include amending the WADA code to strengthen the available sanctions for “large-scale subversions of the anti-doping system,” such as the alleged state-sponsored scheme in Russia, which led to the nation’s partial exile from the Rio 2016 Olympics and blanket ban from the Paralympics.
The NADOs have reiterated their desire for increased investment in WADA to help better fund anti-doping practices while urging better protection should be given to whistleblowers, including the likes of Yuliya Stepanova and Vitaly Stepanov.
They called for “a public commitment from the International Olympic Committee and Russia to assist in guaranteeing the safety, security and well-being” of the Russian duo, whose whistleblowing led to the WADA Independent Commission reports.
Earlier this month, Stepanova, a former 800 metres runner, launched a devastating attack on the IOC and Bach, claiming they had been offered “no support” and have sought to use the situation only to benefit their “own position.”
The Russian has also stated recently that she fears for her life after her Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS) account, which shows her whereabouts, was hacked.
“As a dedicated group of NADO leaders from around the world, we recognise we are at a crossroads in the fight for clean sport,” said the leaders in a joint statement. “With the best interests of clean athletes at heart, we have come together to discuss reforms that we believe will better protect them, restore confidence in the global anti-doping effort that has been deeply damaged, and ensure that the disturbing events of recent years are not repeated.”
The proposals were written and endorsed by anti-doping leaders from around the world, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States as well as the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations.
In response to the suggestions, WADA director general Olivier Niggli said in a statement sent to insidethegames: “At this crucial time for clean sport, WADA is encouraged by this support and looks forward to continuing to work with its partners in leading the fight for the protection of clean athletes’ rights.”
WADA, who did not participate in the NADOs meeting but were “informed in advance that it would be held and embraced the initiative as it does all constructive proposals”, also said they expected further proposals to be made at Olympic Summit on October 8.
“On 19 and 20 November respectively, all proposals will be reviewed by the Agency’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board – both that are composed equally by representatives of government and the Olympic Movement, including athletes.
“Following the meetings, a roadmap will be drawn up that will set the direction for the future of the anti-doping movement,” a statement from the organisation read.
By Liam Morgan