Op-Ed: WADA Is No Place For Absolute Authorities and Politics

IOC honorary member and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen wants an independent body to monitor WADA.

A sign shows the way to the doping control station at the Pacific ColIseum ice-skating rink of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympicson February 8, 2010. As the clock ticks down towards the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, doubts are being raised over the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) promise to wage a pitiless war against the drugs cheats. Designed to avoid the kind of scandal that marred the last two editions, tests will aim to detect performance enhancers like insulin and growth hormones, among others.  AFP PHOTO DDP / DAVID HECKER (Photo credit should read DAVID HECKER/AFP/Getty Images)
A sign shows the way to the doping control station at the Pacific ColIseum ice-skating rink of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympicson February 8, 2010. As the clock ticks down towards the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, doubts are being raised over the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) promise to wage a pitiless war against the drugs cheats. Designed to avoid the kind of scandal that marred the last two editions, tests will aim to detect performance enhancers like insulin and growth hormones, among others. AFP PHOTO DDP / DAVID HECKER (Photo credit should read DAVID HECKER/AFP/Getty Images)

In an e-mail that WADA sent to the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Jan. 26, 2013, WADAcalled itself the "absolute authority " in anti-doping.

This has troubled me: no authority should be absolute. In modern and democratic society anauthority accepts checks and balances. That is also for its own good, as mistakes, blurring ofstandards and disputes may be avoided.

The recent revelations on doping problems, in particular in athletics and Russia, as well as WADA’sself-serving response in that its leadership keeps any investigation in its own hands lest itsshortcomings should be investigated, made me direct an urgent appeal to the WADA FoundationBoard to set up a permanent independent body, independent also from WADA, to monitorcompliance and deal with any complaints about non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code byany anti-doping organization, including WADA.

Such a body will also protect the mission of WADA against any abuse of the power and prestige that gowith it.

I also asked the IOC Executive Board Members to give their support.

In that appeal I gave also examples of what I consider as discrimination by WADA of athletes andanti-doping organizations. While such discrimination can be avoided for the future by installing thatpermanent independent body that should also monitor the doings of WADA, I asked the WADAFoundation Board to undertake action leading to a REALLY independent investigation into:

The role and possible responsibilities of WADA in reviewing or not reviewing the granting byUSADA of a retroactive Therapeutic Use Exemption for an intravenous infusion to Floyd Mayweather and whether, in general, there may be a privileged relationship between WADAand USADA;

The role and possible responsibilities of WADA in dealing or not dealing with information onthe doping problems affecting IAAF and Russia available prior to the documentary by theGerman television;

Whether WADA’s "Independent" Commission’s investigation and report was complete andtruthful regarding WADA’s role and responsibilities in that regard;

The way in which WADA fulfills its mission of monitoring and following-up Code-complianceby anti-doping organizations and in particular whether this is done in an objective, neutraland transparent way: is there any discrimination in the fight against doping of certain sports,federations, countries, NADO’s, laboratories…? Are actions or inactions by WADA (also)inspired by or used for political aims vis-à-vis sports, federations, countries, persons,laboratories?

I also gave to the WADA Foundation Board my thoughts on the role of Dick Pound and how he usedthe forum that was provided to him by WADA, both when he was President of WADA and thereafter,for his own profiling and fighting his personal wars.

For the rest of Hein Verbruggen's op-ed please click here.