Governance

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999 as an independent international agency composed and funded equally by the Sports Movement and Governments of the world.

Overview of WADA's Governance

WADA’s mission is to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport by developing, harmonizing, coordinating and monitoring anti-doping rules and policies across all sports and countries. This important and unique partnership between Sport and Government results from the complementary jurisdictions, expertise and powers of these two sets of stakeholders. 

Sport has an inherent responsibility to maintain a level playing field and protect its integrity.

Governments provide real clout in areas where sport cannot. They can introduce legislation that prevents the trafficking and distribution of banned substances to athletes, and they can address performance enhancing drug abuse beyond elite sport and within wider society.

Cooperation between these partners and all partners in the anti-doping ecosystem has been instrumental in the development of WADA and of the global anti-doping system.

WADA is a Swiss private law, not-for-profit Foundation. Its seat is in Lausanne, Switzerland, and its headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.

A runner stretches her legs and arms, leaning on her right, on the running tracks.
Brown running tracks with white lines

WADA’s Statutes and Governance Regulations

As a Swiss Foundation, WADA’s Statutes are approved and registered by the Swiss Authorities. The current version was adopted by the Foundation Board in April 2021 in response to the governance reforms approved in November 2018. A new revision is now on-going following the latest set of governance reforms approved by the Foundation Board in May 2022.

Download the Statutes

The Statutes are complemented by a set of Governance Regulations, which were also formally approved by the Board in April 2021.

Download the Governance Regulations

Current Governance Structure

(As of 2022; new changes will take effect in January 2023 and will be reflected at that time)

In accordance with WADA’s Statutes, WADA’s current governance structure is composed of:

  • A 38-member Foundation Board (Board)the Agency’s highest policy-making body, with an equal number of representatives from the Sports Movement and Governments of the world.
    • The Members are appointed by their respective constituency groups (e.g., International Olympic Committee,  International Paralympic Committee, Association of National Olympic Committees, governments by continents, etc.). 
    • Currently, approximately one-third of the Board is made up of active or former international-level athletes. 
    • Four seats are dedicated to athletes representing the Sports Movement.
  • A 14-member Executive Committee (ExCo), which the Board delegates the management and running of the Agency to, including the performance of activities and the administration of assets. This also includes taking all decisions that are not reserved by the WADA Statutes to the Board.
    • There are four Independent Members of the ExCo, namely the President, Vice President, one Member proposed by the Sports Movement and one Member by the Public Authorities. Independent Members are reviewed and vetted by WADA’s Nomination Committee. 
    • The ten ordinary members of the ExCo include an equal number of representatives from the Sports Movement and Governments of the World. Members are appointed by their respective constituency groups.
    • Among them, one seat is dedicated to an athlete representing the Sports Movement.
    • Currently, approximately one-third of the ExCo is made up of active or former international-level athletes.
  • Five Standing Committees, which report into the ExCo and play a key advisory role in policy and priority development for the Agency.
    • One of these five Standing Committees, the Compliance Review Committee (CRC), is an independent body that is composed of an independent Chair, two independent compliance experts, an athlete representative, and two members nominated by their stakeholder group (i.e. one from Sport and one from Governments).
    • On an annual basis, the Agency seeks nominations from its stakeholders to fill all Standing Committee vacancies.
  • Ten Expert Advisory Groups and eleven Working Groups, which report as outlined in the chart below and play a key advisory role for the Agency in their areas of expertise.

More information on the Expert Advisory Groups

  • A Nominations Committee, which was formed in September 2019, to ensure that the right people in terms of skills and independence serve in senior governance roles within WADA, and which reports as outlined in the chart below. 

More information on the Nominations Committee

  • An Independent Ethics Board, which was formed in May 2022, is charged with implementing WADA’s Code of Ethics.

More information on the Independent Ethics Board

  • Organizational Structure

Governance Reforms

WADA’s role has grown and the fight against doping has significantly evolved since the Agency’s governance model was formed in 1999. As with all well-run organizations, WADA has acted to ensure that its governance evolves with best practice over time.

Two rounds of reforms have been conducted since 2016 and are presented in the table below. Both were based on recommendations presented by two Governance Working Groups (2017-2019 and 2020-2022) and built upon contributions from various stakeholders.

The next review is scheduled to take place in 2026-2028, i.e. three to five years after the 2022 reforms are implemented, as per the recommendations of the most recent Governance Review Working Group.

 

1st round of reforms (2018)

2nd round of reforms (2022)

Independence

  • Formation of a Nominations Committee to ensure the right people in terms of skills and independence serve in senior governance roles within WADA.
  • An independent President and Vice-President, with a remuneration associated with the role of the President.
  • A limit of three, three-year terms (nine years in total) for all members of the Board, ExCo, and Standing Committees, with no possibility of stepping out for a term and returning.
  • Addition of two independent member seats – with full voting rights – to the ExCo. The two Members take office on 1 March 2021.
  •  Changes to the composition of the ExCo that include two additional seats:
    • one for the WADA Athlete Council Chair as elected by the Athlete Council (see below), and
    • an additional independent member.

Representation

  • A minimum of one seat for athlete representation in all the Standing Committees; and, for NADOs in all but the Athlete Committee and the Compliance Review Committee that were viewed differently in terms of membership rules.
  • Creation of a reformed and renamed Athlete group, the WADA Athlete Council. The members of this new Athlete Council will all be chosen by athletes, as opposed to the current Athlete Committee appointed by the WADA President, WADA Director General with the Chair of the Committee. It will be composed of 20 members:
    • five athletes appointed by the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee Athlete Commissions,
    • eight athletes elected by the Athlete Commissions of International Federations, and
    • seven other athletes, to be selected by an appointments panel made up by a majority of athletes, to fill skills and diversity gaps;
  • Changes to the composition of the Board to include four additional seats:
    • two for representatives of athletes, as chosen by and from the WADA Athlete Council, including an athlete coming from Paralympic Sport, and
    • two for representatives of National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), as chosen by the WADA NADO Expert Advisory Group, whose 10 members will be elected by the NADOs of each of the five continents (two members per continent).

Accountability

  • Adoption of a Code of Ethics and formation of an Independent Ethics Board
  • Creation of an Audit & Risk Committee

Working Group on the Review of WADA Governance Reforms - Reports to the WADA Executive Committee and Foundation Board

The Final Report was approved in May 2022 by the Foundation Board along with adjustments recommended by the Executive Committee which can be found here. The Final Report should be read together with these adjustment.

Governance Best Practices Beyond The Reforms

Find out more