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NADO Leaders remain hopeful for meaningful reform of WADA Governance

 With interest in the activities of the Governance Review Working Group of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and a desire to see continued reform, National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADO) leaders recently gathered for a virtual meeting. 

Since releasing the Copenhagen Declaration back in August 2016, NADO Leaders have monitored WADA’s governance reform processes with great interest. NADO Leaders have contributed constructive proposals based on principles of independence, involvement of key stakeholders – especially athletes – transparency and eliminating conflicts of interest. 

The current Governance Review Working Group has released a survey due 26 March 2021, to collect stakeholder input. All stakeholders, including the NADO community and athletes, are encouraged to use it to submit their experience and opinions. The survey can be found here. 

The need for a stricter division of roles and responsibilities between WADA’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board as well as a truly independent Executive Committee is paramount for the credibility of WADA’s decisions in individual cases, e.g. regarding compliance. At the same time, the importance of independent athletes and NADOs inclusion in WADA’s regulative bodies (such as the Foundation Board) cannot be overstated. Athletes are the heart and soul of sport and need a meaningful voice in its operation. NADOs conduct the majority of all anti-doping activities worldwide, yet, they have no seat on WADA’s Foundation Board. A fair and representative balance of all stakeholders must be ensured on the Foundation Board and WADA committees. 

The NADO Leaders took note that unlike the previous working group on this subject, direct NADO participation is excluded from this important governance review working group. At the same time, the NADO Leaders expressed hope, that the exclusion of NADOs in the process – as key stakeholders with in-depth knowledge of the deficiencies in the current Governance structures – should not be read as a lack of will for much needed governance reforms. 

The statement is supported by the NADOs from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, USA.