Fu­ture of dop­ing war in spot­light at WADA meet­ing

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES: The World Anti-Dop­ing Agency ( WADA) is ex­pected to rule against Rus­sia’s anti-dop­ing body at a key meet­ing in Colorado tomorrow which will aim to map out fu­ture strate­gies for the global war on drugs. WADA’s hi­er­ar­chy meets to as­sess the find­ings of its in­de­pen­dent panel, which un­cov­ered a wide-rang­ing state-sup­ported dop­ing pro­gram in Rus­sia that has plunged ath­let­ics into the big­gest cri­sis in its history. The IAAF on Fri­day pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended Rus­sian ath­letes from in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion, po­ten­tially putting their par­tic­i­pa­tion at next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics in jeop­ardy.

WADA’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee will meet in Colorado Springs, out­side Den­ver on Tues­day be­fore a full meet­ing of the agency’s foun­da­tion board on Wed­nes­day, where of­fi­cials are ex­pected to rule that Rus­sia’s anti-dop­ing body (RU­SADA) has been non-com­pli­ant with its code.

The board will also con­sider a range of rec­om­men­da­tions made by the in­de­pen­dent panel to strengthen WADA. The global anti-dop­ing body had al­ready sus­pended Moscow’s main drug-test­ing lab­o­ra­tory, whose di­rec­tor re­signed last week. WADA Pres­i­dent Craig Reedie said in a state­ment on Fri­day the cur­rent scan­dal rep­re­sented the “tip of the iceberg” and that a new ap­proach was needed to keep drugs cheats firmly on the de­fen­sive.

“To truly tackle the scourge of dop­ing, the anti-dop­ing com­mu­nity must fur­ther im­prove the ap­proach that has been em­ployed to date; and, above all, the re­sources that are at­trib­uted to it,” he said.

‘PUNCH­ING ABOVE WEIGHT’

Reedie said while WADA had “punched above its weight” in the first 16 years of its ex­is­tence, there was broad recog­ni­tion that the body re­quired greater re­sources to tackle dop­ing ef­fec­tively.

WADA ob­tains its fund­ing equally from the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee and state gov­ern­ments around the world.

How­ever the level of an­nual fundin­garound $26.8 mil­lion in 2015 — has re­mained largely flat over the past decade, barely keep­ing pace with in­fla­tion and leav­ing WADA strug­gling to keep up.

WADA di­rec­tor gen­eral David How­man has re­peat­edly com­plained that fund­ing has failed to re­flect the vast amounts of cash pumped into all sports over the past decade, and re­cently con­trasted the rise in salaries paid to top foot­ballers over the same pe­riod.

“When I started at WADA, Wayne Rooney was be­ing paid $4 mil­lion a year by Manch­ester United,” How­man told the BBC in an in­ter­view. “He’s now be­ing paid some­thing like $30 mil­lion. We were get­ting $20m when he first started, we’re now get­ting $30m. Sport is say­ing to us ‘Your money should be in­creased’ but they are not do­ing it in the same pro­por­tion.” As well as the fund­ing is­sue, WADA of­fi­cials this week will also dis­cuss ways of strength­en­ing its in­ter­na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tions unit and im­prov­ing the sys­tem set up to en­cour­age whistle­blow­ers.

The in­de­pen­dent panel last week rec­om­mended that greater pro­tec­tion needed to be of­fered to anony­mous sources that may be will­ing to come for­ward. The panel also took aim at the “in­her­ent con­flicts of in­ter­est” that ex­isted be­tween WADA’s Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee and larger Foun­da­tion Board, which in­cludes many gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The panel rec­om­mended WADA con­sider set­ting up a sep­a­rate dis­ci­plinary body with the power to make rul­ings on non-com­pli­ance. — AFP

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