The annual conference of the World Anti-Doping Agency revealed several issues which could impact the organization's efforts Friday. The falling value of the U.S. dollar and uncooperative governments have the agency looking for other solutions to help keep the fight against doping alive.
Despite raising fees by four percent in 2008, the Montreal-based agency is looking at a 16-17 percent hit because of the weak dollar. "With the shrinking dollar is a shrinking amount of what's available for the rest," said WADA director general David Howman. This has the agency looking at charitable trusts and corporate sponsorship as possible sources of additional funding.
"[We] understand that US$25 million a year is not enough to carry out the things we need to these days," out-going WADA president Dick Pound explained. "I take it we now have a mandate to get inventive and go out and get looking for funds."
Higher fees, however, could put a strain on developing countries. "If we had the money, we would put in more," said Jean Jacques Nzoghe of Gabon's Ministry of Youth and Sport, according to AP. "But in Africa when you ask for more funds, even to get the approval means a process at an assembly level, which is no guarantee."
Governments 'have a lot to do'
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge joined Pound in urging governments to work harder to fight doping or risk being barred from the Olympics. Rogge urged governments to ratify the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport. "I respectfully urge all governments to assume their full responsibility by ratifying the UNESCO convention," said Rogge.
The governments have until January 1, 2009 to ratify the convention, which includes the new World Anti-Doping Code, or risk being barred from competing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, or the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Only 70 of the 205 IOC member nations have ratified the UNESCO convention to date.
Pound gave an example of the importance of governments creating laws to fight doping and having the fortitude to enforce them in ridding sport of its doping problem. "'Raw Deal' is very good example... more than 50 million dollars worth of anabolic steroids were discovered during that operation, and the authorities that conducted it believe it's the tip of the iceberg," said Pound.
Pound said that had more countries joined the investigation,which was led by the US Drug Enforcement and other federal agencies targeting importers of steroids from China, Mexico and other countries, there could have been more discoveries.
"Some countries didn't join (Raw Deal) for reasons of their own, some countries didn't join because they had no laws to enforce," added Pound with frustration.
Struggle to replace Pound
Following the withdrawal of WADA vice-president Jean-François Lamour from candidacy to replace exiting President Dick Pound, Australian John Fahey remains the sole candidate for the position despite a last minute nomination of France's Guy Drut.
Drut, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was put forth as a candidate Friday by European governments opposed to the nomination of Fahey. However, Pound, who leaves his position on December 31 said that the nominatiton was too late. Fahey will be the sole candidate when voting takes place on Saturday,