15 November 2018
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WADA Foundation Board approves wide-ranging governance reform

Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Foundation Board (Board) held its second meeting of the year in Baku, Azerbaijan. 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 and observers, 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.

GOVERNANCE

Increased independence was among the wide-ranging reforms of WADA’s governance model that were approved by the Board today.

The Board considered and approved various recommendations by the WADA Governance Working Group on how the Agency’s governance structure and processes could be enhanced.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said: “The review of WADA’s governance model has been comprehensive and has clearly shown WADA’s willingness to adapt. As with all well-run organizations, we want to ensure that we have the right processes in place and that we change with the times.

“In an ever-changing world, WADA’s role has grown and evolved since its current governance model was first formed. It is right that the structure should develop as well and should continue to be looked at in the future. This should not be thought of as the end of a process but, in fact, it is really the beginning of an ongoing process of governance review within WADA.

“The changes approved today will make a significant difference to how the Agency is run and the greater independence on WADA’s Executive Committee is particularly welcome. I would like to thank the Working Group’s independent chair Dr. Ulrich Haas and all the members for their commitment and determination to produce the best possible results. It is clear that all stakeholders were well represented and given every opportunity to express their opinions to the Group.”

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 end-2016 upon approval from the Board to study strengthening WADA’s governance structure.

Among the approved reforms are the following:

  • An independent President and Vice-President, with a remuneration associated with the role of the President;
  • Formation of a Nominations Committee to ensure the right people in terms of skills and independence serve in senior governance roles within WADA;
  • The addition of two independent seats – with full voting rights – to the ExCo. 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 Board, ExCo and the Standing Committees with no possibility of stepping out for a term and returning;
  • 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.

It was made clear that this should be the first in a series of reforms that will be implemented in the coming months with another, smaller Working Group composed of governance experts, to be set up to look at additional reforms.

As regards additional athlete representation on the ExCo, the Board agreed with the Working Group’s recommendation that the voice of the athletes should be strengthened beyond the existing means when there is a mechanism to ensure 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 will be held to determine at which existing and/or new levels within WADA, athlete representation could be strengthened.

In response, WADA’s Athlete Committee has taken the initiative to create a working group to look at the global representation of athletes worldwide. WADA Management has committed to supporting this group by commissioning governance experts as needed.

The Board also discussed the procedural rules for the election of the next WADA President and Vice-President in November 2019. The final rules will be published in due course. It is to be noted that it is up to the public authorities to nominate their own candidate(s) for the position of President and up to the Sports Movement to nominate their own candidate(s) for the position of Vice-President, and that they are entitled to implement their own process to select their preferred candidate(s). The Board will then elect the next President and Vice-President.

RUSSIAN ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (RUSADA)

Further to the ExCo’s 20 September decision to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) subject to strict conditions, the Board received an update regarding access to the data from the former Moscow Laboratory, which is one of the conditions.

WADA President Sir Craig Reedie informed the meeting that a WADA delegation would visit Russia on 28 November to meet with the authorities and visit the Moscow Laboratory. This meeting has been arranged to prepare for a full technical mission shortly thereafter to retrieve the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and underlying data of the Laboratory before 31 December 2018 as required by the ExCo.

A number of Board members at the meeting stressed again the importance that should Russia fail to comply with its outstanding obligations, then swift action should be taken against RUSADA under the terms of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS).

COMPLIANCE

The ExCo followed the recommendation from the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) to assert the Nigerian National Anti-Doping Committee as non-compliant with the Code due to outstanding non-conformities related to testing.

Under Article 10.3.1 of the ISCCS, if it wishes to do so, the Nigerian National Anti-Doping Committee will have 21 days following the date of receipt of the formal notice of non-compliance to dispute WADA’s assertion of non-compliance, as well as the proposed consequences and/or the reinstatement conditions proposed by the Agency.

The ExCo also approved the CRC recommendation to give four months, starting on 14 November, to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to correct its outstanding non-conformities related to testing and implement the action plan recently produced on its behalf by the International Testing Agency. If the corrective actions are not implemented by 14 March 2019, FIG will automatically receive a formal notice of non-compliance without the need for further decision by the ExCo.

CONDUCT AT WADA MEETINGS

Allegations of improper conduct by ExCo members at the Agency’s September meeting were discussed extensively at this week’s ExCo and, as part of that discussion, the initial findings of an independent review, commissioned by WADA and conducted by an external firm specialized in these matters, were presented.

While the initial findings did not conclude that alleged bullying had taken place, the ExCo agreed that given the seriousness of the allegations, a second phase should take place to allow the many people present at the September meeting to be interviewed so that the matter could be concluded satisfactorily. This will now be conducted by the same external firm and a further report will be presented to the ExCo at the next opportunity.

As far as a broader, more general investigation is concerned, this was also discussed by the ExCo, which did not conclude that it was merited at this time based on the information at its disposal. However, it was concluded that legal advice be sought by the Agency to help in determining a path forward.

WADA continues to take these matters very seriously.

OTHER MATTERS

Bogota Laboratory

The ExCo revoked the accreditation of the Bogotá Laboratory in Colombia, based on the assessment of a Disciplinary Committee due to non-compliance with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) and its related Technical Documents. The Laboratory was initially suspended on 20 February 2017. Pursuant to Article 13.7 of the Code, the Laboratory may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days of its receipt of the decision.

Code and International Standards Review

In relation to the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI), enhanced criteria for sample collection equipment were approved, which requires that appropriate testing and quality control measures are in place for equipment to avoid the issues that the anti-doping community faced early in 2018. WADA formed an ad-hoc group to develop the criteria that liaised with current and future sample collection equipment manufacturers.

A number of changes were also made in relation to the Result Management procedures for the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program contained in Annex L of the ISTI.

The proposed changes to the sample collection equipment and ABP Result Management procedures were circulated to stakeholders as part of the first round of consultation process for the International Standards and the feedback included within the approved documents. These changes will come into effect on 1 March 2019.

Meanwhile, the ongoing review of the Code and other International Standards continues as per the agreed process with a view to them being approved at the 2019 World Conference on Doping in Sport, and with them coming into force on 1 January 2021.

Social Science Research

The ExCo approved the recommendations of the WADA Education Committee for six social science research project grants totaling US$209,039 under the 2019 Social Science Research Grant Program. The details of the newly approved projects will be made available under the Social Science Research section of WADA’s website in due course.

Budget

The Board approved the WADA budget for 2019, which will be US$34,671,054, representing an 8% increase as compared to 2018.

In addition to the decisions taken above, updates were provided on a wide range of activities and programs led by WADA to further enhance the fight against doping in sport for the benefit of the anti-doping community and, ultimately, the athletes. These include the revision and redesign of the Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS), advances in intelligence and investigations, Code compliance monitoring, education and other areas.

Addendum 10 December 2018: A Summary of Outcomes is now available