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WADA Foundation Board Approves Whistleblower Program, Sanctioning Framework

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Reelected President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Sir Craig Reedie, is joined by the Agency’s new Vice President, Linda Hofstand Helleland, who was announced as the governments’ choice following the passing of former Vice President, Rev. Dr. Makhenkesi Stofile in August 2016.

Helleland, the current Norwegian Minister for Sport, was initially appointed for a three year term, in accordance with WADA rules. At its meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, the WADA Foundation Board approved a series of recommendations that, according to a press release, “will equip the Agency to be fit for the future — ranging from compliance and governance to investigations and whistleblowing. Most notably, the Foundation Board, which is composed equally of the Olympic movement and governments of the world, endorsed a graded sanctioning framework for non-compliance that was put forward by the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC). Next steps will involve further consultation and, once enacted, this framework will equip the anti-doping system with the ability to levy meaningful, predictable and proportionate sanctions in cases of non-compliance by anti-doping organizations (ADOs) with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).

“WADA is pleased with this evolution, which was supported by athletes, sport and government,” said Craig Reedie. “This framework will, not only cement the Agency’s role as the international regulator of clean sport, it will also be a game changer for the global anti-doping movement,” he continued. “The new framework, which will include development of an appropriate legal instrument, will involve considerable consultation with stakeholders in the coming months prior to its implementation.”

“The decision by the Board to grant WADA authority to develop a new, meaningful graded sanctioning system is welcomed by athletes; particularly, as it provides a direct answer to the call made by athletes earlier this year for a stronger, meaningful system of consequences for non-compliance,” said WADA Athlete Committee Chair, Beckie Scott. “If we all agree that WADA should be independent and empowered as the regulator of doping in sport, then how could we not agree to equip WADA with the tools it needs to do its job fully,” said Scott. “On behalf of athletes, I feel confident in saying that we are pleased that this decision has been made today in the interest of clean sport,” added Scott.

WADA’s Whistleblower Program, which takes effect in early 2017, will, for the first time, formalize the process for protecting and offering assurance of confidentiality to whistleblowers. The Program, which will encourage athletes, administrators and others, from across all sports and all countries, to raise concerns in good faith and on reasonable grounds of suspected doping, aims to provide greater assurance to, and incentivize, those individuals that come forward with valuable information. To ensure the independence of the anti-doping system from sports organizations and national governments, the Foundation Board approved the creation of a working group with stakeholder representation from the governments, the sport movement, National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), athletes and other experts. The working group will study strengthening WADA’s governance structure and report back at the next Board meeting in May 2017. In order to maintain WADA’s strengthened laboratory accreditation monitoring system, it was decided that a working group would be formed to review the lab accreditation process. The Board agreed to continue the process to evaluate establishing an Independent Testing Authority (ITA); a request made by the Olympic Summit. This group will report back on the proposal of the ITA at the next Foundation Board meeting in May 2017.

This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is republished here with Huba’s permission. 

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