Volume: 15 Issue: 4
The Declaration of the International Olympic Committee (‘IOC’) Executive Board of 16 March 2017, puts forward 12 principles for a more robust and independent global anti-doping system to protect clean athletes, including measures on strengthening the World Anti-Doping Agency (‘WADA’), the creation of an Independent Testing Authority (‘ITA’) and the sanctioning of individuals and Code signatories. The IOC’s Declaration states that WADA ‘must be equally independent from both sports organisations and from national interests,’ because even the perception of conflicts of interest can damage the credibility of the anti-doping system. Adam Pengilly, a member of the Athlete’s Commission of the IOC, comments that he is in general agreement with the IOC’s Declaration, however with some caveats. In regards to the principles relating to the strengthening of WADA, Pengilly states that it would be helpful to define what ‘independent from sports organisations and from national interests’ means in practice.
In regards to the creation of an ITA, the IOC’s Declaration states that the ITA will develop with each International Federation an International Test Distribution Plan (‘ITDP’) by sport and discipline and the ITDP will contain a minimum number of tests for every athlete wanting to participate in the World Championships and the Olympic Games. Athletes that do not meet the established minimum testing level will not to be eligible to compete. The Declaration states that the ITA board will include representatives from public authorities, the Olympic Movement and WADA as well as elected athlete representatives. Pengilly believes that this is not enough and there “should be some independent members and Olympic Movement members should not be in the majority (or perhaps even close to the majority) as it is called the Independent Testing Authority after all.”
Sanctioning with regard to individuals following a case established by the ITA, or sanctioning of a Code signatory following a declaration of non-compliance by WADA, will be determined by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, following the democratic principle of the ‘separation of powers,’ states the Declaration. Pengilly believes that a principle of using a separate body to sanction is sensible. “However, I would not wish to advocate this until I knew that CAS had improved its operation and efficiency to be able to deliver decisions in a more timely fashion than is currently the case,” continues Pengilly. “When it comes to the sanctioning of organisations, there must first be a robust, clear framework of sanctions that are related to the offence, similar to the one supported by all parties at the WADA Foundation Board in November 2016.”
The WADA Athlete Committee produced a statement on 15 March 2017 following a multi-stakeholder workshop in which a Charter of Athlete Rights and Responsibilities was proposed, and participants discussed the elements they would like to see in the Charter relating to anti-doping such as: the right to compete on a level playing field, the right to access education, privacy protection and legal representation. WADA’s Athlete Committee will now refine its proposal so that it can expand its stakeholder consultation to include other athlete committees and anti-doping stakeholders.