By Jonathan Copping*
On 30 August 2016, 17 National Anti-Doping Organisations (“NADOs”) met at an ‘Extraordinary Summit’ in Copenhagen, Denmark, to discuss reforms aimed at better protection for clean athletes and restoring confidence in the integrity of international sport following recent doping scandals.
Amongst a number of wide-ranging recommendations the NADOs called for there to be improved monitoring systems of the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”) and the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport compliance in order to permit the earlier identification of failing anti-doping systems.
The NADOs also recommended that mentoring of developing and/or non compliant NADOs be emphasised, with a view to raising the quality and also ensuring the integrity of national level anti-doping efforts. It is thought that the recent issue with Kenya being declared non-compliant with the Code and the hastily-passed national legislation, which created a new anti-doping agency in time for the Rio Olympics, was in mind when proposing this reform.
Separately, the NADOs recommended that all officers, directors, employees or decision-makers of anti-doping organisations should not simultaneously hold a position in any other sporting federation or event organisation, to avoid any conflicts of interests. An oblique reference here to the President of WADA also being a Vice President of the International Olympic Committee!
On the financial side, the NADOs recommended that the funding for anti-doping from current and new sources should be increased, including increased financial commitments to WADA and other anti-doping organisations.
At present, WADA is funded equally by the Olympic Movement and Governments from around the world. However, the Olympic Movement has a policy of only funding WADA when Governments have done so. In the event that a Government delays its funding contribution to WADA, then WADA will not receive the Olympic Movement contribution, thus leading to a potentially sizeable lack of funding.
In response to the NADOs recommendations, WADA released a short statement on 31 August 2016, stating that it was encouraged by the support from the NADOs and was looking forward to working with its partners to make sport clean.
WADA had previously announced that it would be holding a series of think-tank meetings; the first being on 20 September 2016, which will generate other proposals.
Finally, on 19 and 20 November, all proposals for anti-doping reforms will be reviewed by WADA’s Executive Committee and a strategy will be drawn up to progress further the fight against doping in sport.
*Solicitor, Bolt Burdon Law Firm, London