The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has remarked it wants to give more power to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the fight against drug-cheating by athletes.

The IOC announced it was agreed at a meeting of world sports leaders that the World Anti-Doping Agency should oversee the testing of athletes while sanctions would be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Presently, testing is conducted by either national anti-doping agencies or international sports federations, who also decide sanctions. The role of WADA currently is primarily a regulatory one which includes compiling the list of banned substances.

The so-called Olympics Summit also proposed that WADA should have more control over national anti-doping agencies, and should supervise national anti-doping programs.

WADA president Craig Reedie said the anti-doping agency welcomes all constructive proposals aimed at reinforcing clean sport. Reedie added the meeting was another step towards strengthening WADA and the global anti-doping system. The World Anti-Doping Agency president also commented that the recommendations that were put forward today will be considered along with others that we have received from stakeholders on such key topics as WADA’s governance and funding model, consequences for non-compliance, investigations, and testing.

The proposals of IOC are expected to be approved at WADA’s next meeting in November. Reedie remarked we are to be given substantial additional authority and substantial additional power, so he is fairly happy with that. The WADA chief added we have been given powers on compliance and we are going to produce a whole range of potential sanctions for different degrees of non-compliance, so that is in our hands and we will do that. IOC President Thomas Bach agreed that the annual budget of WADA would now need an increase. Recently, Reedie said the annual budget of around $30 million, funded partly by national governments and partly by the International Olympic Committee, is not enough. The IOC vowed to help WADA increase its annual budget if it made changes in line with its recommendations.

The IOC urged WADA to significantly improve its information security standards in the wake of the Fancy Bears hack that revealed details of therapeutic use exemptions of athletes for banned substances. The IOC also called upon WADA to lead a more robust, more efficient, more transparent and more harmonized anti-doping system.

The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations (iNADO), which represents the national anti-doping bodies, remarked it would not be right to give more power over testing to the same body that rules on the cases that follow. iNADO added there were several “troubling omissions” from the plan of IOC and added there is nothing explicit about state-sponsored doping in Russia, or about the moral responsibility of the IOC to push Russian sport and sport leaders to necessary cultural change in that country for genuinely protecting clean sport.

The meeting, in a show of unity after sharp divisions caused by the Russian doping scandal, came following a spate of public attacks on the World Anti-Doping Agency by several International Olympic Committee members.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: WADA Should Be More Powerful, Says IOC