Americas vs. Europe in WADA Presidential Campaign

(ATR) Presidential Candidate Marcos Diaz tells Around the Rings he wants WADA to better reflect "a diverse world".

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(ATR) One of the two official candidates for WADA President tells Around the Rings that the organization must "take into account that we live in a diverse world and not necessarily exclusive to the reality of rich and developed countries."

Marcos Diaz, the vice-minister of sports for the Dominican Republic, is the choice of the Americas to replace Craig Reedie.

Diaz is facing Poland’s sports minister and WADA Executive Committee member Witold Bánka, who was confirmed as the European candidate at the end of last month by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

While no other official candidates came forward before the registration period ended on March 8, WADA vice-president Linda Helleland of Norway says she will continue her campaign for the presidency despite not having the support of Europe.

Helleland is widely considered the choice among athletes for her calls for major changes to WADA, including how it deals with doping.

Reedie, who has served since 2013, represents the sport movement and under WADA rules the next president must be a government representative.

Diaz obtained the support of all the governments of the Americas during the General Assembly of the XIX American Council of Sports (CADE) held on February 21 in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Diaz has been a member of the WADA Executive Committee for the past four years representing the Public Authorities of the Americas. He has also been a member of the Foundation Board of WADA.

The 44-year-old, an outstanding athlete in various sports disciplines in his country and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, also served for two years on the Working Group in charge of reviewing the governance structure of WADA after the Russia doping scandal.

Diaz tells ATR that if he assumes the presidency of WADA, "there will be an athlete (he just retired in 2012) with a Latin American and universal vision, with vast experience in public sports policy and international doping".

He said his candidacy was presented based on synergies with Africa and other countries in Asia.

The Minister of Sports of Uruguay and President of the Ibero-American Council of Sports, Fernando Cáceres, cites Diaz’s "strong leadership in WADA" and his "reference for consensus and building bridges in the solution of conflicts."

It is anticipated that on May 14 in Montreal, Canada, the Public Authorities group on the WADA Foundation Board could reach consensus on a single candidate for the Presidency. Otherwise the two candidates will be subject to a secret ballot, with each region having one vote.

The chosen candidate would then begin a "process of accompaniment" with Reedie and the WADA Director General Olivier Niggli, spending six months shadowing the two of them before being officially appointed at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Katowice, Poland, between Nov. 5 and 7.

Diaz realizes that at the Montreal meeting in just two months a consensus could be reached in which Europe could allow America to lead WADA.

Of the 18 votes of the governments in the Foundation Board, 10 are needed to win the presidency.

"We are working to exceed that margin," said Diaz.

Written by Miguel Hernandez, edited by Gerard Farek

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