WADA Chief Highlights China Crisis

In a recent interview, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey said China remains the “major source of supply” for illegal performance enhancing drugs. The comments from Fahey came after WADA director-general David Howman told a news conference that “99 percent of illegal substances come from China”.

The WADA director-general went on to add that the “same bad guys” were associated with both match fixing and the supply of illegal drugs due to the huge amounts of money involved in each case. On Tuesday, Fahey remarked that more needed to be done despite progress being made by Chinese authorities and said WADA had made representations to CHINADA (the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency) on numerous occasions. The 68-year-old Australian said he had discussions with the Sports Minister of China and he is conscious of specific action being taken. The WADA president also added that the world anti-doping agency had certainly asked for their cooperation and conscious of many suppliers being shut down as a result of the representations in the past. There was more to catching drug cheats than dope tests and that there was no substitute for government action, says John Fahey.

The mandatory maximum six-year term of Fahey as WADA president ends this year and the former premier of New South Wales said he had no intention of returning to front-line Australian politics.

Last week, the Australian Crime Commission report said the use of prohibited products was commonplace across multiple sporting codes to send shock waves in a country where sports has a central role in national life.

Swiss-based UNI Sport PRO, an umbrella group of national and international sporting associations, recently questioned the effectiveness of WADA and slammed it for its handling of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. A UNI Sport PRO statement said the World Anti-Doping Agency and its stakeholders are failing in their mission to protect clean athletes. The banned cyclist recently admitted to using banned performance enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France after he was stripped of the titles following an investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

UNI Sport PRO, the global platform of democratically elected and accountable Athlete Associations, said current rules and structures are inadequate to deal with corrupt cultures within sport organizations and the involvement of organized crime in doping and anti-doping rules are not based on adequate evidence and research. It also said the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the Australian Crime Commission investigations demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the current WADA Testing regime as Armstrong was not caught through testing, despite being frequently tested.

It went on to remark that sport organizations are abusing their dominant position by excluding an independent athlete voice and anti-doping rules are based on the contractual relationship between athletes and sport organizations. The umbrella group added that athlete Commissions, held out as representative by WADA and the IOC, are internal structures within sport organizations and cannot independently represent the collective interests of the athletes. It also suggested that increasing the minimum sanction for a first offense will not increase the effectiveness of the system and open it up to legal challenge.

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