The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Governance Working Group met in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 22 October and will make a number of recommendations to WADA’s Foundation Board (Board) on how the Agency’s governance structure and processes can be enhanced when the Board meets in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 15 November, 2018.
The group, which is comprised of representatives of athletes, National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), the sports movement and governments of the world, as well as independent governance experts, was formed last year upon approval from the Board to study strengthening WADA’s governance structure.
Among the proposals made by the Working Group are the following:
- An independent President and Vice-President, with a small remuneration going with the role of the President;
- The addition of two independent seats – with full voting rights – to the Executive Committee. Nominations for these positions could be proposed by the sports movement and the governments but the candidates should have no link to either group in accordance with the strict criteria that will be vetted by the Nominations Committee;
- A limit of three three-year terms (nine years in total) for all members of the Foundation Board, Executive Committee and the Standing Committees with no possibility of stepping out for a term and returning;
- Formation of a Nominations Committee to ensure the right people in terms of skills and independence serve in senior governance roles within WADA;
- Formation of an Independent Ethics Board to ensure compliance with the standards of conduct required for good governance; and
- One seat each at a minimum for both athlete and NADO representation in all Standing Committees.
As regards additional athlete representation on the Executive Committee, the Working Group could not reach a consensus. Its members did agree, however, that the voice of the athletes should be strengthened beyond the existing means when there is a mechanism of sufficient representation. Once the athletes are able to confirm exactly how and by what means they are represented as well as how their representatives are selected, then an open discussion should be held to determine at which existing and/or new levels within WADA, athlete representation could be strengthened.
Independent Chair of the Working Group Dr. Ulrich Haas said: “The entire process of governance review has been comprehensive and has clearly shown WADA’s willingness to adapt and that it wants to ensure it has the right processes in place. We have had some excellent discussions and this week’s final meeting was no exception. It was great to have so many experts in the room representing various viewpoints, providing the benefit of their experience and specific areas of expertise. I can say that all stakeholders were committed, well represented and given every opportunity to express their opinions to the group.”
“A common theme throughout this process has been that greater independence on WADA’s Executive Committee would be a desirable outcome and would serve the Agency well in the future. Part of the reason WADA was set up nearly 20 years ago was to provide consistency and standardization to anti-doping policies and regulations within sports organizations and governments around the globe. In an ever-changing world, its role has grown and evolved since then so it is right that the governance structure should develop as well and should continue to be looked at in the future.
“These recommendations and the preceding discussions are proof that anti-doping’s different stakeholders are able to work together in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. This is really the beginning of an ongoing process of governance review within WADA and it is encouraging that all the recommendations were unanimously accepted by the group without exception.
“I look forward to presenting the findings and recommendations of the Working Group to the Foundation Board for its consideration next month and I am grateful to the members of the group for their constructive contributions to this important process.”
The WADA Governance Working Group is composed as follows:
- Independent Chair – Dr. Ulrich Haas
- Athlete Representatives – Kirsty Coventry (IOC Athletes’ Commission, Zimbabwe) and Adam Pengilly (WADA Athlete Committee, UK)
- NADOs – Patrick Goh (Singapore) and Andrea Gotzmann (Germany)
- Governments – Judge Lex Mpati (South Africa), Marcos Diaz (Dominican Republic), Toshiei Mizuochi (Japan), Philippe Muyters (Belgium) and David Howman (New Zealand)
- Sports Movement – Prof. Didier Cossin (governance expert, Switzerland), Romano Subiotto QC (sports law expert, Belgium), Danka Bartekova (IOC Athletes’ Commission, Slovakia), Richard Budgett (IOC) and Andrew Ryan (ASOIF)
- Independent experts – Huw Roberts (UK) and Akaash Maharaj (Canada)