WADA commission member brings greater independenceMontreal, 19 May 2016 – Today the WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie, appointed Professor Richard H. McLaren as the independent person heading the Sochi investigation that was announced by the Agency yesterday. Professor McLaren is tasked with investigating the allegations made in relation to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which were published by CBS 60 Minutes and The New York Times on 8 and 12 May respectively.
Richard McLaren was one of WADA’s three-person Independent Commission, led by founding WADA President Richard W. Pound, which exposed widespread doping in Russian Athletics. Professor McLaren will work independently, and be supported by the multi-disciplinary team that has been established. He has significant experience in the world of international sports law, including being a longstanding member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Sir Craig Reedie acted swiftly to name Richard McLaren further to requests received by the former director of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov; and, whistleblower, Vitaly Stepanov. Dr. Rodchenkov and Mr. Stepanov – that are the informants for this investigation -- both expressed concerns regarding ‘independence’. These are sentiments that were echoed by Beckie Scott, the Chair of WADA’s Athlete Committee. Dr. Rodchenkov and Mr. Stepanov indicated that, in light of a perceived conflict of interest -- given that the allegations relate to the Sochi Olympics and that WADA is funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – they would only provide evidence in their possession to an independent person.
“WADA is grateful to Richard McLaren who has, once again, agreed to join a WADA Investigation Team,” said Sir Craig Reedie, President of WADA. As President of WADA, I felt that it was in the best interest of clean athletes that we obtain the evidence as quickly as possible,” he continued. “Given the sentiments expressed by many of a perceived conflict of interest, we did what’s necessary to follow through on our commitment to get to the bottom of these allegations; while, seeing that impartiality and transparency prevail.”
“With the help of Professor McLaren, we will now gather and review all evidence to determine if there have been any violations to anti-doping rules, or any other rules or laws,” said David Howman, Director General. “Once the investigation is concluded, WADA will publish a full report and make available all pertinent evidence,” Howman continued. “If it is found that there have been violations of the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA will ensure that individuals or organizations concerned are dealt with in an appropriate fashion.”
With the independent oversight of Richard McLaren, the Investigation Team will be led by WADA’s Investigations Manager, Mathieu Holz, who is a former Major of the French Gendarmerie and INTERPOL Agent. Mr. Holz is forming a multi-disciplinary team of experts that will include leading independent scientists such as the Director of the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Professor Christiane Ayotte.
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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the international independent organization created in 1999 to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against doping in sport in all its forms. The Agency is composed and funded equally by the sports movement and governments of the world. Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code – the first document harmonizing regulations regarding anti-doping in all sports and all countries.