If the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is to tackle the complex issues it faces and ultimately achieve its mission, fundamental reform of its governance is required, said Brendan Schwab, Executive Director of the World Players Association.

In a radio interview with Tracey Holmes of ABC Australia last weekend, Schwab emphasized three major issues that continue to confront WADA:

  • Its lack of independence and conflicted and politicised governance
  • Its inability to prevent and address sophisticated cheating including state-sponsored doping programs
  • Its disproportionate and unjust sanctioning system which has disrupted or destroyed a significant number of athletes’ careers and livelihoods.

To address these issues, in 2017 World Players proposed to WADA’s governance review process a series of governance reforms built on four pillars that lie at the heart of all effective models of governance. These are:

  • Replacing the present bilateral partnership between sport governing bodies and governments with a tripartite partnership in which athletes – through their legitimate representatives – have an equal say. This would be appropriately installed in WADA’s legislative body, the Foundation Board
  • Empowering the restructured Foundation Board to elect and hold to account a fully independent and merit-based Executive Board
  • Guaranteeing the strict separation of powers, including an independent judiciary and arbitration body with a global remit
  • Embedding the internationally recognised human rights of athletes in WADA’s statutory texts in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

“If implemented, the governance reforms would greatly enhance athlete confidence in the global anti-doping system, which faces many complex challenges. They would also lead to greater independence and accountability as well as protecting the fundamental rights of WADA’s key stakeholder, the players and athletes. These steps are essential if the global anti-doping system is to be effective,” Schwab said.

WADA has not provided World Players with a reasoned reply for the rejection of its proposals. Furthermore, WADA has rejected requests by World Players to meet with the WADA Foundation Board.

To listen to the full interview please click here.