The leaders of 17 National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) recently met together for a special summit in Copenhagen to discuss reforms that could best serve the interests of clean athletes and restore confidence in the integrity of anti-doping decisions in international sport.
Hosted by Anti-Doping Denmark (ADD), the two-day summit saw the NADO leaders discussing some of the most pressing issues facing anti-doping. These issues included how to best improve the effectiveness of NADOs, the involvement of sport leaders in critical anti-doping decisions and activities, long overdue reforms to ensure the current and future protection and support of those who provide Anti-Doping Organizations with intelligence and information, and 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.
The NADO leaders, recognizing the efforts and progress of WADA since its inception in 1999, made substantive recommendations to improve and strengthen the capabilities of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The recommendations included improved systems for Code compliance, increased capacity for WADA to investigate and impose proportionate sanctions for Code non-compliance, and the adoption of clear sanctions for large-scale subversions of the anti-doping system. It was also proposed in addition to the current commitment of financial support from governments that funding to anti‐doping from current and new sources which benefit from clean sport should be increased, including increasing financial commitments to the World Anti-Doping Agency and other anti-doping organizations. The group also recognized the value in maintaining close collaboration with sport – especially with regard to anti-doping education, funding, and intelligence sharing.
The group of National Anti-Doping Organizations also proposed wide-ranging governance reforms for all anti-doping organizations, including the World Anti-Doping Agency for better promoting independence from sport including a proposal that no decision-maker within an anti-doping organization should hold a policy-making position within a sport or an event. The leaders also proposed to separate investigatory, testing and results management functions from sports organizations for preventing the inherent conflict of interest that exists when a sports organization is tasked with both promoting and policing itself.
UKAD Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead remarked 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. Sapstead added both the WADA Independent Commission and the McLaren Report have highlighted serious and worrying issues within sports governance and she added 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 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 Organizations (iNADO).