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WADA Claims “Politically Motivated Group” is Undermining its Program

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By Mike Rowbottom |

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), widely criticized over its decision to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the alleged “bullying” that took place during the Executive Committee meeting which reached that decision, claims its program is being destabilized by a “small, politically motivated group of detractors.”

Australia’s four-time Olympic race walk medalist Jared Tallent this week declared the WADA governance as “not fit for purpose” and gave his full support to the “logical and pragmatic” proposals for reform launched by Britain’s Rio 2016 Paralympic powerlifting silver medalist Ali Jawad earlier this month.

Sport Ireland and the Athletes’ Commission of the Olympic Federation of Ireland also joined the international call for an independent investigation into alleged bullying by WADA Executive Committee members of Beckie Scott, Canada’s WADA Athlete Committee chair and a Winter Olympic cross-country skiing gold medalist.

On Monday (October 22) Britain’s world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe told insidethegames of her deep concerns over the lack of response from the International Olympic Committee to the treatment of Scott, who told BBC Sport she had been “bullied” and “belittled” by “members of the Olympic Movement” for her opposition to the RUSADA ban being lifted.

In response to the latest wave of criticism, a WADA spokesman told insidethegames: “It’s clear there is a small, politically motivated group of detractors who since the decision on RUSADA’s reinstatement one month ago have attempted to destabilise the global anti-doping program by criticizing WADA, the Olympic Movement and the Governments of the world, who voted for the reinstatement of RUSADA.

“This coordinated group have aligned themselves with some genuinely concerned athletes in order to further their own motives.

“It’s time to put aside these political motives and ensure that Russia fulfills the conditions of its reinstatement, for the good of clean sport.

“The RUSADA decision was the right one for clean sport and WADA is in a stronger position because of it.

“Actually, it is a win-win.

“Either we will have access to all the data from the Moscow Laboratory by the end of the year, allowing us to catch more cheats and exonerate clean athletes, or RUSADA will be made non-compliant again.

“And this time, if they are non-compliant, it will be under harsher terms than before because we now have a much stronger process around this through the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories, which came into force on April 1, 2018, than we had in 2015.

“Please note that the decision was taken by a clear majority of the ExCo (9-2), and by a majority of both the Olympic Movement (unanimous) and the Government (3-2 and one abstention) representatives who compose WADA’s ExCo in equal parts.”

On the subject of Scott, the spokesman added: “We take her allegations seriously and we are currently conducting a review of the meeting, which includes having an independent expert review the recordings/transcripts so it can all be discussed during the next ExCo meeting in Baku on  November 14.

“It is currently clear that strong and divergent views from different sections of the anti-doping community, as well as the public debate, do affect the tone and atmosphere of these meetings.

“The minutes of this meeting are publicly available on WADA’s website.

“In terms of governance – any strong organisation will always look at its structures to make sure they are fit for purpose.

“That’s why two years ago we began a full review of WADA’s governance to ensure WADA is fit for the future.

“WADA’s Athlete Committee and other athlete groups are represented and active in this process, which is led by an independent person.

“The group is meeting this week in Lausanne to consider a wide range of potential changes and will report its recommendations to the Foundation Board next month.”

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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