Fahey to step down from position as head of WADA

WADA president John Fahey gives an address at a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland.

WADA president John Fahey gives an address at a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Image credit: AFP Photo)

After six years as head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), John Fahey will step down from his position with Great Britain's Craig Reedie taking over.

"Doping in sports remains an issue as we have seen in the Lance Armstrong case," Fahey told Le Monde at the WADA conference in South Africa. "But we have made great strides in our ability to catch the cheaters. Still, we are convinced that there are many more athletes using doping than there are caught."

Lance Armstrong had hundreds of tests throughout his career but never tested positive.

"The anti-doping agencies have admitted that Armstrong has escaped punishment for far too long." Fahey said. "The positive side of things is that USADA has implemented a non-analytical approach to this case so Armstrong received his punishment without ever being caught. This non-analytical approach complements the traditional methods we have."

WADA was created in 1999. It started with 150,000 doping tests a year. This year the amounts of tests carried out is around 250,000. Still, only 1% of the tests were flagged as positive.

"The anti-doping community has to keep working to up the level of positive tests," Fahey said. "We don't know the exact percentage of athletes using banned substances, but we do know it's much higher than the percentage that is caught. The new WADA code of 2015 will implement stricter regulations."

The relationship between WADA and former UCI president Pat McQuaid has always been a tense one. Brian Cookson, who was elected president of the UCI in September has asked WADA to conduct an investigation into the UCI's role in cycling's doping problems in recent years.

"We already expressed that we look forward to working with Brian Cookson. WADA will execute an independent investigation into cycling's recent past, as requested by Mr. Cookson and the UCI."

WADA has also appealed the decision of the Spanish authorities to destroy the blood bags that were obtained during Operación Puerto, the judicial investigation into Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

"WADA thinks the decision to destroy the blood bags is particularly disappointing and non-satisfactory. We appealed this decision and now are waiting for the outcome."

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