The leaders of 17 National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs), including UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), came together for a special summit in Copenhagen Denmark this week to discuss reforms that best serve the interests of clean athletes and restore confidence in the integrity of anti-doping decisions in international sport.
Over the course of the two-day summit, hosted by Anti-Doping Denmark (ADD), the NADO leaders discussed some of the most pressing issues facing anti-doping, including:
• how best to improve the effectiveness of NADOs
• the involvement of sport leaders in critical anti-doping decisions and activities
• the need for a strengthened World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) capable of ensuring a level playing field as a result of countries with failing anti-doping structures
• long overdue reforms to ensure the current and future protection and support of those who provide Anti-Doping Organisations with intelligence and information.
Recognising WADA’s efforts and progress since its inception in 1999, the NADO leaders made substantive recommendations to improve and strengthen WADA’s capabilities, including improved systems for Code compliance, the adoption of clear sanctions for large-scale subversions of the anti-doping system and increased capacity for WADA to investigate and impose proportionate sanctions for Code non-compliance.
The NADO group also proposed wide-ranging governance reforms for all anti-doping organisations, including WADA, in an attempt to better promote independence from sport; including a proposal that no decision-maker within an anti-doping organisation should hold a policy-making position within a sport or an event.
In addition to the current commitment of financial support from governments, funding to anti‐doping from current and new sources which benefit from clean sport should be increased, including increasing financial commitments to WADA and other anti‐doping organisations.
Whilst there was recognition of the value in maintaining close collaboration with sport – especially with regard to anti-doping education, funding and intelligence sharing – the leaders also proposed to separate investigatory, testing and results management functions from sports organisations, in order to prevent the inherent conflict of interest that exists when a sports organisation is tasked with both promoting and policing itself.
UKAD Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead said: “Both the WADA Independent Commission and the McLaren Report have highlighted serious and worrying issues within sports governance. Now is the time for the entire sporting community to come together to find a way forward and ensure that the right processes, funding and safeguards are in place to protect everyone’s right to clean, fair and honest competition.
“The reforms suggested by 17 NADOs shows that the anti-doping community is serious about reform and has a strong desire to create positive change for the benefit of clean sport. We are calling for a strengthened WADA, good governance throughout the anti-doping community, including NADOs, and a transparent independent process in relation to anti-doping.”
The proposals were written and endorsed by anti-doping leaders from around the world, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States as well as Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO).