Olympic leaders back WADA to lead war on doping

Olympic leaders yesterday asked the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to oversee a global system for tackling drug cheats with an independent body testing athletes and more powers for WADA to punish failing organisations.

World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie. Picture: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP

After the IOC hosted a meeting of world sports officials, it upheld WADA’s future role after months of strained relations amid fallout from the agency’s call to ban Russia from the Rio de Janeiro Games because of state-backed doping.

The Olympic body called for WADA to lead a “more robust, more efficient, more transparent and more harmonised” anti-doping system, and promised more finance for the agency if it passed reforms.

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WADA is now set to get “substantial additional powers,” the agency’s president Craig Reedie, pictured, told reporters after a four-hour closed-door meeting.

Reedie said a new testing authority – taking control of when and where athletes are tested from international and domestic sports federations – could operate in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Sports governing bodies are also set to lose control of banning athletes who dope – with the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport to gain sanctioning powers.

WADA was asked to discuss the proposals at board meetings on 19-20 November in Glasgow.

Olympic leaders have long favoured taking control of drug testing from sports federations, and most of the proposals made yesterday repeated calls from a previous summit held in Lausanne one year ago.

However, WADA’s possible role in a revamped and more independent system has been questioned since it appointed two investigations that detailed Russian doping and cover-ups.