Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Foundation Board (Board) was held in Montreal, Canada. The 38-member Board – which is composed equally of the Sports Movement and Governments of the world – met to discuss progress regarding WADA’s priorities and other important matters concerning the Agency and the future of clean sport. The full-day Board meeting, which was open to members of the media, included a number of discussions and decisions.
The previous day, WADA’s 12-Member Executive Committee (ExCo) met and made a number of decisions and recommendations, which then came before the Board.
BOARD APPROVES BUDGET INCREASE OF 8% PER YEAR FOR FOUR YEARS
Following on from its decision in November 2017 to endorse an 8% increase in WADA’s 2018 budget, the Board today approved further 8% increases for each of the next four years, from 2019-22.
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said: “While the Board considered a broad range of topics aimed at strengthening WADA’s capacity to deliver clean sport, the crucial decision of the day was the agreement to increase the Agency’s budget of 8% per year over the next four years.
In November 2017, WADA Management presented the Board with a detailed proposal outlining the resources – financial and human – that would be required to deliver on the Board’s expectations and those of other stakeholders. It is therefore very encouraging to receive this financial commitment from Governments and the Sports Movement, which is an endorsement of the work being done and a vote of confidence in the Agency’s ability to carry out its mission to protect clean sport.”
In addition, the Board approved the 2017 year-end accounts.
BOARD DISCUSSED COMPLIANCE STATUS OF RUSSIAN AND KUWAITI NADOs
The Board heard that the ExCo endorsed the Agency’s independent Compliance Review Committee’s (CRC’s) recommendation that RUSADA remains non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) until such time as Russia fulfills the two outstanding criteria of RUSADA’s Roadmap to Compliance, namely:
- That the responsible authorities for anti-doping in Russia must publically accept the reported outcomes of the McLaren Investigation; and
- That the Russian Government must provide access for appropriate entities to the stored samples and electronic data in the Moscow Laboratory, which are sealed off due to a Federal investigation.
The CRC will consider new information over the coming weeks and report to the ExCo as promptly as possible.
Also, the Kuwait Anti-Doping Committee, which had been non-compliant with the Code since September 2017, was declared compliant, having met the conditions for its reinstatement.
BOARD CONSIDERED REVIEW OF ANTI-DOPING SYSTEM
The Board discussed a proposal put forward by WADA Vice-President Linda Hofstad Helleland calling for an independent review of the anti-doping system in light of the doping scandal in Russia. The Board supported the ExCo’s decision of the previous day that the proposal be revisited and re-scoped for discussion at a later stage.
INTELLIGENCE AND INVESTIGATIONS (I&I)
WADA Director General Olivier Niggli confirmed that an independent audit of the I&I Department revealed no issues with the performance of the Department but highlighted the issue of understaffing as undermining its capacity to respond to all of the valuable information it was receiving. It is anticipated that the budgetary increase approved at the meeting will help to alleviate this situation.
The Director of the I&I Department, Gunter Younger, reported on some of the activities his team had been involved in since the previous meeting. In total, from January-April 2018, the department had received 45 reports via the ‘Speak Up!’ whistleblower program with a full-time Confidential Information Manager having been appointed to take responsibility for the program, which is proving to be very successful since it launched last year.
In his report, Mr. Younger updated the Board on investigations in Brazil, Romania and Kazakhstan as well as the investigation into the activities of the International Biathlon Union, which has so far resulted in the initiation of a criminal investigation by police in Austria and Norway.
An update was provided on the work of the Code review team, which is currently in a two-year, three-phase, stakeholder consultation process. This review will culminate at WADA’s next World Conference on Doping in Sport that will be held in Katowice, Poland, in November 2019.
The Board received updates from the Agency’s five Standing Committees (Athlete; Education; Finance; CRC; and Health, Medical and Research). Of particular interest, the Chair of the Athlete Committee, Beckie Scott, reported on developments within the Committee; notably, the drafting of an Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights. The Board heard that the Charter will be at the center of discussions at the first WADA Global Athlete Forum, which will be held in Calgary, Canada from 3-5 June, under the theme ‘The Sport We Want’.
WADA Management reported that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 16 May with the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ), which will yield CAD 2 million to focus on advanced areas of anti-doping scientific research.
The Board heard an update from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the International Convention Against Doping in Sport and on the importance of the partnership with WADA to protect clean athletes.
Board members were also updated on the progress of the Agency’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) ‘Next Gen’ project, which was initiated in March 2017, and that is now firmly on track. The project is ensuring specifications that reflect the priorities of the anti-doping community.