World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee and foundation board meetings-African countries should ratify global pact against doping in sport, says minister


Minister Meriton (third right) with other delegates at Wada’s executive committee and foundation board meetings

Mr Meriton, who is the minister for social affairs, community development and sports, was speaking to Sports Nation after attending the agency’s recent executive committee and foundation board meetings held in Montreal, Canada.

Minister Meriton pointed out that African countries have been urged to establish national anti-doping offices and that forum like the African Union ministers of sport meetings and the SCSA ministerial meetings will be used to engage African sports leaders in these matters.

He noted that after cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life for doping by the International Cycling Union, the successes of Kenyan middle and long distance runners are also being questioned.

To make matters worse, the Kenyan authority is not cooperating with Wada to have its athletes tested. It is for this reason that African countries have been told to help urge Kenya to engage itself in working with Wada.

“We all know that Kenyans, Ethiopians and Eritreans train in high altitude where the air is thin and breathing is difficult. This means that when they run at sea level in international competitions, they breathe more easily. But there are always people who are skeptical and want to challenge. This is why we are urging the Kenyan authority to cooperate with Wada on this issue,” said Minister Meriton.

Wada’s athlete committee has also urged the Kenyan government to put in place an independent inquiry to look into the doping allegations that the country’s athletes have been facing for some time now.

Minister Meriton noted that the executive committee has decided to implement immediately a modification to Wada technical document TD 2013DL to increase the threshold level for marijuana to 150 ng/ml. Marijuana is a prohibited substance for in-competition testing, and remains on the prohibited list. It has never been prohibited out-of-competition. The change to the threshold will mean that athletes using the substance in-competition will be detected. The threshold can be monitored and changed at any time.

The minister added that it came to light during the meeting that Wada has made significant progress in its mission to enhance global support in the fight against doping in sport.

The meetings focused mainly on proposed amendments to the third draft of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code in context of the Code Review Process with stakeholders that started in November 2011. The review process included three phases of consultation and will conclude at the world conference on doping in sport in Johannesburg, South Africa, from November 12-15, 2013.

A large number of submissions were received from stakeholders during the three phases of the consultation process. According to reports, there have been nearly 4,000 individual comments on the Code and International Standards.

Wada president John Fahey said “Wada values the input of these stakeholders and is pleased with the level of their engagement throughout the review process. The agency continually seeks to enhance the framework that supports the anti-doping system, and revisions depend on these contributions.”

With the third draft, the code becomes clearer in language, shorter in length, and the articles stronger. The amendments put forward provide for:

? Longer periods of ineligibility for real cheats and more flexibility in sanctioning in other specific circumstances

? Consideration of the principles of proportionality and human rights

? Assistance in the increasing importance of investigations in the fight against doping

? Encompassing athlete support personnel who are involved in doping

? Emphasis on the concepts of smart test distribution planning, smart menus for sample analysis, and smart sample storage

? Added clarity and equality in balancing the interests of international federations and national anti-doping organisations

During the meetings, the delegates deliberated on the code compliance strategy and Wada’s foundation board acknowledged the code compliance strategy for monitoring compliance of the ‘2015 World Anti-Doping Code’.

Wada has looked at ways to improve the compliance report and to ensure it is a tool to measure quality and to judge the effectiveness of anti-doping programmes.
“Quality Wada-approved testing programmes are needed to ensure, that testing is effective and that sophisticated cheaters are found. This will ultimately advance the fight against doping in sport,” said Mr Fahey.

Recommendations on improvements to testing programmes

The Wada foundation board also received a report from the ad hoc working group responsible for reviewing the “ineffectiveness of testing” programmes. Chaired by former Wada president Richard W. Pound, the ad hoc committee made a number of recommendations and suggestions on improvements to testing programmes. Wada has immediately responded to the issues the agency can address from a management perspective.

The code drafting team responsible for revising the code and international standards noted all the recommendations affecting the revision process and incorporated many of them within the drafts provided at the weekend meetings.

A significant amount of work in response to the report has already been undertaken. Other recommendations are for the respective stakeholder groups to consider. The Wada executive committee directed that these groups be informed and asked to report to the executive committee at its meeting on September 11, in Buenos Aires.

Foundation board members were also presented with the approved programme of the world conference on doping in sport to be held November 12-15 in Johannesburg. The main focus will be the review and endorsement of the final version of the 2015 world anti-doping code and related international standards.

The Wada executive committee and foundation board will convene in Johannesburg prior to the conference and following its conclusion. A special meeting of the foundation board will also be required to approve the world anti-doping code and international standards prior to the conference endorsing them.

Minister Meriton has been a member of Wada’s foundation board since his appointment in 2011. This year, 2013, is his last in office.

The 38-member board is Wada’s supreme decision-making body. It is composed equally of representatives from the Olympic movement and governments. Mr Meriton is one of three public authorities from Africa who sit on the board. The other two are Egypt Minister of State for Sport El Amry Farouk and Botswana Minister for Youth, Sport and Culture Shaw Kgathi.

The board delegates the actual management and running of the agency, including the performance of activities and the administration of assets, to the executive committee, Wada’s ultimate policy-making body.

Wada was established in 1999 as an international independent agency composed of and funded equally by the sports movement and governments of the world.

Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World anti doping code – the document harmonising anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.

Wada is a Swiss private law foundation. Its seat is in Lausanne, Switzerland, and its headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.  
It works towards a vision of the world that values and fosters a doping-free culture in sport.

Compiled by G. G.

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