Anti-doping organisations call for overhaul of WADA

National bodies want change in the 'best interests of clean athletes'

The national anti-doping organisations of 17 countries have called for an overhaul of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the "best interests of clean athletes". This week, the group met at a summit in Copenhagen in the wake of the 2016 Rio Olympics Games and surrounding doping issues.

On the eve of the Olympic Games, WADA called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russia from competing. The IOC resisted a blanket ban for the country at the Olympic Games, but have banned all Russian athletes from competing at next month's Paralympics.

The 17-nation group proposed that WADA becomes more independent, and prohibit WADA executives from simultaneously holding a policy-making position within another sports organisation. Current WADA president Craig Reedie is also an executive board member of the IOC.

Created in 1999, WADA relies on funding from the IOC and national governments for its budget, which in 2013 was $26,420,098 US.

"We recognise we are at a crossroads in the fight for clean sport," the leaders of the national anti-doping organisations (NADO) said in a joint statement.

"With the best interests of clean athletes at heart, we have come together to discuss reforms that we believe will better protect them, restore confidence in the global anti-doping effort that has been deeply damaged, and ensure that the disturbing events of recent years are not repeated."

According to the BBC, the group wants WADA to have investigatory, testing and results management functions separate from sports organisations "to prevent the inherent conflict of interest that exists when a sports organisation is tasked with both promoting and policing itself". It also wants to amend the WADA code to address "large-scale subversions of the anti-doping system with strong deterrent effect".

In November of last year, WADA's Athlete Committee chair Beckie Scott called for all of Russian sport to be examined.

"I feel that there are a lot of athletes watching and waiting right now," Scott said. "We're at a crossroads. We urge you to please consider these athletes and consider these sports as a whole."

An IOC meeting has been convened for later this year with President Thomas Bach to lead the conversation on potential changes to its anti-doping regime.

The proposals were written and endorsed by Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations.

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