Compliance Review, 2012 Budget Top World Anti-Doping Agency Agenda

(ATR) Director general David Howman tells Around the Rings about WADA's two big issues for this weekend's meetings of the Executive Committee and Foundation Board in Montreal.

(ATR) World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman tells Around the Rings about WADA's two big issues for this weekend's meetings of the Executive Committee and Foundation Board in Montreal.

A compliance review and the 2012 budget are up for discussion at the Board meeting, essentially WADA’s annual general meeting.

The compliance report is a simple ruling for signatories.

"You’re either compliant with the WADA Code or you're not," Howman tellsATR. "There’s no halfway house."

He added that in the period WADA focused on in its report, "quite immense" progress was made in the fight against doping with a stronger willingness evident from signatories to rid sport of doping.

"Going forward we won’t need to concentrate so much on rules and all those sorts of things people need to have in place," says Howman.

"We’ll be looking more at practice, which I think will enhance and advance that commitment even more."

WADA’s Code says the review must be done annually by the Board, and WADA will do so on Saturday.

"For us it’s a management task that we’ve been entrusted to fulfill, and we’ve done it and provided interim reports over the last 18 months so people could see progress," Howman explains.

Overall, the meetings mark another step in the evolutionary process for WADA, he adds.

"When you set up you’ve got to get all your ducks in line and that had to be done twice because the Code was reviewed," he says.

"Now those processes were dealt with. We can be more effective in partnering with our signatories, whether that be the federations or the [National Anti-Doping Organizations] so we can develop better models of how to practice.

"I think we still have a regulatory role if you like, but you can do it in a way that’s more accommodating or softer as far as the recipients of our guidance is concerned," he adds.

"So instead of saying you must do this and you have to do that, we can say why don’t we do this together so we can achieve practice in the best possible way.

"That takes into account, I’d hesitate to call them complaints about costs, and we want to address that by making sure any dollar spent in anti-doping is spent wisely and not wasted."

WADA’s finance committee proposed two budgets for 2012. Both budgets will be more than $26 million, but one accounts for a zero percent increase and the other a two percent increase.

Funding for WADA is split evenly between governments and the IOC. Howman says the European governments asked for a zero-percent increase in light of the ongoing financial situation.

The budget increase for 2012 is similar to what WADA received in the last few years, but Howman notes "that two percent is not even keeping pace withcost of living."

Howman also says that because of the policy-driven nature of discussion, it's hard to anticipate what will be discussed by the Executive Committee.

One issue he did not think would be discussed in-depth is continued fallout from the Court of Arbitration for Sport's scrapping the IOC's "Osaka Rule" banning athletes from the next Olympics if they are suspended for six months or more due to a doping violation.

"We have to make sure that that is noted by the Board, but I don’t think there will be discussion around the Board table. I think that’s something that will be discussed during Code review," Howman says.

"That’s well and good. That’s just like anything else as you go forward you look at ways of making sure all of your signatories have a say in how rules are developed.

"Our only concern is they have to be checked off against legal processes and human rights. We’ve done that before. I don’t have any problem saying it will be done appropriately as we go forward."

When asked if he wanted a similar rule added to the books again, Howman demurred.

"I think if the bulk of your signatories feel that’s the change that they want, then that’s the change they should have. We just don’t want to be hauled before the court to defend something which we can’t defend. I don’t think that will happen," he tells ATR.

"It’s a two-year drafting exercise so surely it can be done in a good way."

Written and reported by Ed Hula III

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