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Dope Wars II: WADA Formally Responds to Report Asking for Reform

WADA President Witold Banka replied to the ONDCP’s allegations in a letter expressing the agency’s disappointment at the lack of consultation in compiling the report and reiterating that the report was filled with ‘multiple inaccuracies, misconceptions and falsehoods’.
In their letter, WADA noted that governance reforms have already been undertaken within the organisation with the approval of the US representatives.

In their letter, WADA noted that governance reforms have already been undertaken within the organisation with the approval of the US representatives.

Two days after a damaging US government report that asked lawmakers to block funds to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the absence of governance reforms, the agency has responded.

In a letter to James Carroll, director of the office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), WADA president Witold Banka laid emphasis on the agency's ‘disappointment’ at what WADA says are factual inaccuracies in the report along with a lack of consultation as it was compiled.

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"Given that, during our June 12 telephone meeting, we discussed a renewed spirit of cooperation, I would have expected your office to have consulted us on the report; or at the very least, to have verified the factual veracity of the allegations being made against WADA," Banka wrote.

"Instead, in the days before publication, you informed us of the impending report and asked us to verify three paragraphs by a certain deadline; and, when we did so in good faith, you chose not to incorporate our clarifications. As the saying goes, 'why let the truth get in the way of a good story?"

Banka also attached a summary of WADA's views on the report, reiterating that the report was littered with ‘multiple inaccuracies, misconceptions and falsehoods’, in the agency’s view.

WADA had previously condemned the ONDCP report in a statement calling it fundamentally flawed. “It is very unfortunate that the report was written without due regard for the facts or context and with the clear intention to discredit WADA.”

The ONDCP study released this week questioned whether the United States -- the largest contributor to WADA’s 2020 budget -- was getting enough value for money for the $2.7 million per year it gives to WADA. 

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The report also asked for reforms to include independent athlete and anti-doping representatives on WADA committees and decision-making bodies and stressed on WADA leadership to be ‘free from undue influence by sports organizations with a direct financial interest in WADA decisions’.

WADA noted that governance reforms have already been undertaken, with the approval of the US representatives.

The letter clarified that the reforms already implemented include the formation of a nomination committee to ensure independent, appropriately skilled people are given senior governance roles, and a stipulation that seats on all standing committees are reserved for both athlete and national anti-doping organization representatives.

"I remain convinced that the US Government has an important role to play in protecting Clean Sport," Banka wrote, "and, it is my sincere hope that, going forward, we can work collaboratively rather than WADA having to defend itself against unfounded attacks via the media, which do absolutely nothing to advance the global anti-doping program for athletes worldwide."

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