Foundation Board Press Release: Foundation Board Equips Agency to be Fit for the Future

Stakeholders endorse framework for meaningful, predictable and proportionate graded sanctions for non-compliance 

Agency’s Whistleblower Program approved

Glasgow, Scotland – 20 November 2016 – The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Foundation Board today approved a series of recommendations that will equip the Agency to be fit for the future -- ranging from compliance and governance to investigations and whistleblowing. 

The Board also re-elected President, Sir Craig Reedie, for a further three-year term as the nomination of the sport movement. Reedie is joined by the Agency’s new Vice President, Ms. Linda Hofstad Helleland, who was announced as the governments’ choice following the passing of former Vice President, Rev. Dr. Makhenkesi Stofile in August 2016. Helleland, the current Norwegian Minister for Sport, was initially appointed for a three-year term, in accordance with WADA rules.


Most notably, the Foundation Board, which is composed equally of the Olympic movement and governments of the world, endorsed a graded sanctioning framework for non-compliance that was put forward by the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC).  Next steps will involve further consultation and, once enacted, this framework will equip the anti-doping system with the ability to levy meaningful, predictable and proportionate sanctions in cases of non-compliance by anti-doping organizations (ADOs) with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).

“WADA is pleased with this evolution, which was supported by athletes, sport and government,” said Craig Reedie, WADA President. “This framework will, not only cement the Agency’s role as the international regulator of clean sport, it will also be a game changer for the global anti-doping movement,” he continued. “The new framework, which will include development of an appropriate legal instrument, will involve considerable consultation with stakeholders in the coming months prior to its implementation.”         

“The decision by the Board to grant WADA authority to develop a new, meaningful graded sanctioning system is welcomed by athletes; particularly, as it provides a direct answer to the call made by athletes earlier this year for a stronger, meaningful system of consequences for non-compliance,” said WADA Athlete Committee Chair, Beckie Scott. “If we all agree that WADA should be independent and empowered as the regulator of doping in sport, then how could we not agree to equip WADA with the tools it needs to do its job fully,” said Scott. “On behalf of athletes, I feel confident in saying that we are pleased that this decision has been made today in the interest of clean sport,” added Scott.

WADA’s Whistleblower Program was approved by Board members. The Program, which takes effect in early 2017, will, for the first time, formalize the process for protecting and offering assurance of confidentiality to whistleblowers. The Program, which will encourage athletes, administrators and others, from across all sports and all countries, to raise concerns in good faith and on reasonable grounds of suspected doping, aims to provide greater assurance to, and incentivize, those individuals that come forward with valuable information. Under this Program, WADA will listen to whistleblowers’ concerns; provide them with advice; keep them informed of the Agency’s investigations; and support, protect, and reward them as appropriate along the way.

To ensure the independence of the anti-doping system from sports organizations and national governments, the Foundation Board approved the creation of a working group with stakeholder representation from the governments, the sport movement, National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), athletes and other experts. The working group will study strengthening WADA’s governance structure and report back at the next Board meeting in May 2017.

In order to maintain WADA’s strengthened laboratory accreditation monitoring system, it was decided that a working group would be formed to review the lab accreditation process.

The Board agreed to continue the process to evaluate establishing an Independent Testing Authority (ITA); a request made by the Olympic Summit. This group will report back on the proposal of the ITA at the next Foundation Board meeting in May 2017.

In light of the recent “hacking” attacks by cyber espionage group ‘Fancy Bears’, WADA confirmed the security measures that it had implemented to protect athletes’ personal data and the broader Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS).

In order to advance these recommendations, and reflect the significant increase in activities required, the WADA Finance Committee agreed to developing, in 2017, a draft 2018 budget that will take into consideration the new strategic activities that WADA will undertake.

“By approving the Agency’s Whistleblower Program, enhancing WADA’s investigative capacity and endorsing other measures, the Foundation Board today clearly called for the Agency to lead the way forward for the global anti-doping program,” said WADA Director General, Olivier Niggli. “We believe that this is a significant step in securing athlete confidence and trust that the system is fit for the future and able to protect their interests,” said Niggli.

Other important matters

The Foundation Board declared three signatories non-compliant with the Code with immediate effect. The National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) of Azerbaijan and Brazil were deemed not to have 2015 Code compliant legal framework in place. The NADO of Indonesia was declared non-compliant as a result of using a laboratory not accredited nor otherwise approved by WADA and not having provided evidence of this situation having been remedied. WADA will now hand the decision over to its stakeholders, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UNESCO for their consideration and action.

In discussing compliance, the Foundation Board agreed to upgrade the independent CRC to a WADA standing committee, which was one of the recommendations made at the WADA Think Tank and Executive Committee meetings in September. In order to ensure its independence, the CRC will operate only under its own bylaws.

Finally, Vitali Smirnov, Chair of the independent Russian Commission, provided an update on Russia’s anti-doping development. Members were informed of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA’s) efforts to regain compliance with the Code. Whilst some progress has been made, there remain a number of challenges with the Russian anti-doping program that need to be addressed in order for RUSADA to regain Code compliance.


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