WADA Executive Committee welcomes two additional independent members
During a two-week circulatory vote that followed its 12 November virtual meeting, the Foundation Board (Board) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed the recommendations of both the Agency’s Nominations Committee and Executive Committee (ExCo) and appointed Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni and Patricia Sangenis as two additional independent members of the ExCo.
Originally from Italy, Ms. Battaina-Dragoni is the current Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe (COE), and will retire from this position in the coming weeks. From 2011-12, she was COE’s Director General of Programs and was Director General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport from 2004-11. A strong proponent of ethics in sports, she played a leading role in the planning and promotion of a number of COE’s sports integrity initiatives that sit alongside its longstanding Anti-Doping Convention. She is currently representing the COE on WADA’s Board – a seat she will relinquish due to her appointment to the ExCo.
Dr. Sangenis is a reputed sports physician from Argentina. For more than 20 years, she helped to deliver medical services and doping control for various sporting events, including at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and she is a former member of the International Olympic Committee Medical and Scientific Commission. Through her work as a practitioner and academic, she has been a strong advocate for sport and physical activity, especially among women and girls, with the aim of achieving equal opportunities, not only in terms of participation, but also as it relates to health, leadership and other areas.
The additional independent members’ terms will commence on 1 March 2021. From that date, therefore, WADA’s ExCo will be composed of four independent members (including the President and the Vice-President), five representatives of Governments and five of the Sport Movement, with active or former athletes represented in each of these categories. Currently, one third of the members of both WADA’s ExCo and Board are active or former international-level athletes.
As such, the full ExCo will consist next year of:
- Witold Bańka (Independent Chair, WADA President)
- Yang Yang (Independent Vice-Chair, WADA Vice-President)
- Patricia Sangenis (Independent)
- Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni (Independent)
- Ugur Erderner (International Olympic Committee)
- Jiri Kejval (Association of National Olympic Committees)
- Ingmar de Vos (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations)
- Nenad Lalovic (Global Association of International Sports Federations)
- Danka Bartekova (IOC Athletes Commission)
- Amira El Fadil (Public Authorities – Africa)
- Andrea Sotomayor (Public Authorities – Americas)
- Tanose Taido (Public Authorities – Asia)
- Dan Kersch (Public Authorities – Europe)
- Grant Robertson (Public Authorities – Oceania)
This change is the latest in a wide-ranging series of governance reforms implemented by WADA since November 2018 to ensure the Agency’s governance remains fit for purpose and can adapt to future challenges. Of the 70 reform recommendations made by the WADA Governance Reforms Working Group in November 2018, all have now been actioned to some degree – the vast majority having been fully implemented. In addition to the four independent ExCo members, there is at least one athlete and one representative of National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) on each Standing Committee (except, as it relates to NADOs, for the independent Compliance Review Committee), and there is a limit of three terms of three years each for members of the ExCo, Board and Standing Committees.
In addition, work continues on additional athlete representation within WADA’s governance, as well as the introduction of a WADA Code of Ethics and formation of an Independent Ethics Board or similar structure. A draft of the Code of Ethics has been developed with the objective of it being approved by the Board in May 2021.
On 11 November 2020, the ExCo approved the composition of a new Working Group on the Review of WADA Governance Reforms to monitor the effect of the ongoing reforms and propose additional reforms going forward following a broad stakeholder consultation. This Group includes five governance experts and one expert athlete (nominated by WADA’s Athlete Committee), with the possibility of expanding the Group to include another expert athlete.
WADA President Witold Bańka said: “The significant progress WADA has made on governance reform continues and I would like to welcome Dr. Sangenis and Ms. Battaini-Dragoni as strong, independent voices on the ExCo. WADA’s governance reform is expanding. With the establishment of the new Working Group, the governance model will be further strengthened on an ongoing basis. It is vital that WADA is not static and that our governance continues to evolve in line with international best practice.”
As part of its circulatory vote, the Board also approved the 2021 WADA budget, which was endorsed by the Agency’s Finance and Administration Committee at its meeting in August and recommended by the ExCo on 11 November. The agreed budget is USD 43,371,517, representing an 8% increase as compared to 2020, which was accepted by the Board in May 2018 as part of a four-year series of annual increases from 2019-22.
WADA Investigations Policy
Lastly, the Board approved amendments to the WADA Investigation Policy, as recommended by the ExCo at its November meeting. The amendments refer primarily to the timing of publication of WADA’s investigative findings and the need for transparency to help lift the veil on doping schemes while also protecting the identity of whistleblowers and not compromising any ongoing results management processes or law enforcement activities.