15 January 2013
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WADA will not partake in UCI Independent Commission

Statement from WADA President John Fahey

Following communication with lawyers representing the Independent Commission set up to look into doping issues that have plagued the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the sport of cycling, WADA has informed the UCI that it has decided not to partake in the inquiry.

Over the course of several communications (click here to read the correspondance), WADA has shared a number of serious concerns as to the Commission’s terms of reference and its ability to carry out its role without undue influence.

In particular, WADA is concerned that the scope of the inquiry is too focused on sanctioned former cyclist Lance Armstrong – especially as his case is closed and completed with there being no appeal – and will therefore not  fully address such a widespread and ingrained problem.

WADA also has concerns over the timeframe agreed for the Commission. A June deadline for the Commission’s report is wholly insufficient and will result in a lost opportunity to properly investigate the problem.

There is further concern that the UCI has had too much influence over the terms of reference, which calls into question the Commission’s independence. The terms of reference were signed off by the UCI and the Commission without consultation with anti-doping authorities, while the requirement for the Commission to deliver its report to the UCI before any other party is unacceptable.

Finally, because the Commission does not offer immunity there is no incentive for witnesses to come forward, or to even give witness statements. An approach that does not allow individuals to give evidence without the fear of retaliation will merely perpetuate the ‘omerta’ that has been an obstacle to cycling investigations in the past.

Despite these concerns, WADA has been informed that the Commission and UCI are not willing to change the terms of reference and timetable, and for this reason WADA has declined to spend money and dedicate resources on an inquiry that has such obvious limitations.

WADA will of course monitor the inquiry and if its concerns are fully met it will reconsider its decision to not take part.