Following recent criticism from Sport Ireland’s John Treacy and many others in Irish and British sporting circles, Minister Shane Ross added his voice to the controversy.
A reminder that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999 by governments and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to safeguard the rights of athletes and promote and protect drug-free sport. WADA’S mission has never been more important that it is today.
WADA must be reformed to make it stronger and more accountable to clean athletes in order for governments, the public and the athletes to continue to support and believe in it.
Minister Ross said: “We welcome the calls from today’s summit to reform WADA and have the voices of athletes truly heard. The White House Anti-Doping Summit sends another important message to the sporting world that clean athletes want and deserve a fair sporting landscape and the vigilance of all who adhere to the WADA code must remain steadfast.
“The fight against anti-doping in sport needs to be unrelenting. National Anti-Doping Organisations held a special summit in Paris last weekend to reiterate their concern that standards in anti-doping could be compromised in light of recent decisions made within WADA.
“The NADOs have expressed their support for athletes in calling for reform of WADA and I fully endorse their position. WADA is in a turbulent phase following the decision of the Executive Committee to reinstate Russia recently and particularly in light of allegations of bullying that have been made by those who opposed that decision.
“It is clear that there is an inherent conflict of interest in the sport movement’s position within WADA’s governance structure and the time is right to reform WADA – to make it a more robust organisation and regain the trust of the sporting world.”
As a result of the recent state-sponsored doping crisis in Russia, and widespread athlete and public disillusionment in how the crisis was handled, confidence in clean sport is at an all-time low. Athletes and sports fans across the globe have lost confidence in the commitment, resolve, and willingness of WADA to stand up for ideals upon which is it was founded.
The Washington Anti-Doping Summit Declaration states that the members agree that in order for WADA to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport, reforms must include the following:
- WADA must commit to govern and operate in respectful, accountable, democratic, and transparent manner.
- WADA must undertake greater efforts to listen to and respect the voice of athletes. WADA must include athletes as full voting members on its Executive Committee and in other essential governance functions.
- Call for a robust independent inquiry to examine WADA’s culture, leadership and operations following the recent allegations of bullying and acts of intimidation at WADA.
- The governance structure of WADA must be overhauled in a significant and meaningful way. Individuals with active roles in sport must not simultaneously serve in leadership positions at WADA.
- WADA must ensure an open and transparent process regarding securing all the anti-doping samples and laboratory data in Russia and the WADA Compliance Review Committee must convene and make a recommendation immediately after the December 31, 2018 deadline for compliance.”
It’s not often that SportsNews IRELAND agrees with Minister Ross but this is one such occasion and we earnestly hope that the International Olympic Committee (IoC) and the Governments of most countries will agree to the very reasonable requests set out in the foregoing statement.