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USOC Proposes Exclusion of Olympic Officials from WADA Governance

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USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun. Photo: USOC

A radical plan to exclude anybody involved in sporting governance from a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Board position has been included among a set of United States Olympic Committee (USOC) reform proposals.

The proposals, included in a “position paper on anti-doping reform” published Friday, were announced following discussions with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Quarterly Board meeting in Colorado Springs.

Producing a “clearly independent anti-doping body with overriding global authority” is the prevailing theme of the proposals.

Greater funding and improved support for whistleblowers are other key ideas.

But the section on independence is the most eyecatching elements and is something that puts them on a possible collision course with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“WADA should be governed independently of the sports organizations it watches and works with, and needs to have clear, transparent policies on governance,” the proposals state.

“No person serving in a governance role in the IOC, any NOC (National Olympic Committee), any IF (International Federation), or ANOC (Association of National Olympic Committees) should also serve in a governance role for WADA.”

If implemented, every current sporting representative in WADA would be ineligible to stand.

It is thought that the central element of the idea is to avoid a conflict of interests wherein WADA officials also hold influential sporting positions.

For instance, WADA President Sir Craig Reedie was himself a member of the IOC Executive Board for the first three years of his tenure until last year.

But, while accepting of this problem and adamant to separate sporting interests from testing or sanctioning, the IOC are thought to believe that a complete absence of sporting officials from WADA’s Foundation Board and Executive Committee is a step too far.

However, USADA have welcomed the USOC paper.

“The positions are sensible, clear and very much in line with the Copenhagen Declaration,” a spokesperson told insidethegames.

“It’s especially encouraging to see a National Olympic Committee publicly reiterate the need for a truly independent WADA – that’s an important step in the right direction.”

Other ideas proposed by USOC include “robust support” for investigative work to uncover systematic doping.

“Whistleblowers must be encouraged to share what they know and protected against retribution,” the paper adds.

“This enhanced fight against doping requires increased investment.

“The IOC, the NOCs and the IFs should all contribute on a fair and equitable basis, complementing Governmental support.”

It comes as USOC continue to play a balancing act between supporting radical American calls for anti-doping reform and avoiding upsetting sporting stakeholders as Los Angeles bids against Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

WADA is due to discuss reforms at a Governance Group meeting tomorrow in Lausanne.

By Nick Butler

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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