WADA Foundation Board approves changes to Statutes and Governance Regulations as part of governance reform process
During a three-week circulatory vote that followed the May 2023 meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Executive Committee (ExCo), WADA’s Foundation Board (Board) formally approved changes to WADA’s Statutes and Governance Regulations that were necessary as the result of the latest wide-ranging reforms that the Agency has made to its governance structure since May 2022.
Following a consultation process with ExCo and Board members, final documents were prepared and presented to the Board for approval. Of the 38 Board members, 33 voted in favor of the revisions, one against and, at the time of the stated deadline, four votes had not been received. The changes have also been provisionally approved by the Swiss Authorities, which because WADA is a Swiss foundation, must formally approve the Statutes.
WADA Director General, Olivier Niggli, said: “We are pleased to see the near completion of our long-running and far-reaching process of governance reform that began back in 2016 and has delivered dozens of meaningful improvements to the way WADA operates. These reforms are making WADA more efficient, effective, athlete-centered, transparent and independent. It is very encouraging to see such broad support for these reforms from our members, who include independents, and representatives of athletes, Governments of the world and the Sport Movement.”
The reforms strengthen the voices and roles of athletes within WADA through the establishment of the Athlete Council and the inclusion of its Chair on the ExCo. In addition, they have led to an Independent Ethics Board being established and they provide for the creation of a Risk & Audit Committee, which is now being constituted.
As part of these changes to the Statutes and Governance Regulations, the Board also approved a proposal to extend the initial term for a WADA President and Vice-President from three to six years. This was done in order to accommodate the initial cooling-off period and the formal election process for those positions. A possibility for a further and final term of three years (with a full election process) for the role of President and Vice-President has been introduced, harmonizing the total term limit of nine years with term limits for other members of the Board and ExCo members.
As a result of WADA’s governance reforms, the Board membership will be increased from 38 to 42 members to reflect the addition of two elected representatives from WADA’s Athlete Council and two elected representatives from WADA’s National Anti-Doping Organization Expert Advisory Group, which were announced on 24 March 2023. The four new members will now be formally inducted.
WADA is composed of the Board, which is the Agency’s highest policy-making body, and the 16-member ExCo, to which the Board delegates the management and running of the Agency, including the performance of activities and the administration of assets. The Board and ExCo are composed equally of representatives from the Sports Movement, including athlete representatives, and Governments. In addition, the ExCo has five independent members, including the President and the Vice-President, and the Chair of the WADA Athlete Council. Currently, even before the addition of Athlete Council representatives, approximately one third of the Board and ExCo members are former international-level athletes.
Also, via circulatory vote, the Board formally approved the 2022 year-end accounts based on the recommendation of the ExCo on 9 May. The audited accounts will be published as part of WADA’s 2022 Annual Report.