Montreal, 23 January 2020 – Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Executive Committee (ExCo) held an extraordinary meeting that was graciously hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland. Welcomed by IOC President Thomas Bach, the 12 members of the ExCo discussed in particular the appointment of five new WADA Standing Committee Chairs, as well as a number of other topics including the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) compliance case, the provisional suspension of the Moscow Laboratory, and consideration of WADA’s new Strategic Plan for 2020-24.
In his first ExCo meeting as WADA President, Witold Bańka said: “It is very encouraging to see the high level of commitment expressed by the ExCo members around the table today. The Agency is at an important stage, beginning a new era. As we continue to implement major governance reforms and to develop a forward-looking Strategic Plan, I am confident we will face our challenges effectively for the promotion of the values of clean sport and the protection of athletes around the world.”
Appointments of Standing Committee Chairs
With the terms of the Chairs of WADA’s five Standing Committees having come to an end on 31 December 2019 (except for the Compliance Review Committee, whose Chair remained in place until this ExCo meeting to ensure continuity of the CRC activities), the ExCo approved the following new Chair appointments with immediate effect:
- Athlete Committee: Ben Sandford, New Zealand
- Education Committee: Kady Kanouté Tounkara, Mali
- Health, Medical and Research Committee: Lars Engebretsen, Norway
- Finance and Administration Committee: Ser Miang Ng, Singapore
- Compliance Review Committee (CRC): The Hon. James Wood, Australia
[Biographical information regarding the new Chairs can be found here.]
Mr. Bańka said: “WADA welcomes the new Standing Committee Chairs to these important advisory roles within WADA. It is clear that the Agency is acquiring a depth of experience and knowledge in their areas of expertise, including from two former elite athletes, which we and Clean Sport will benefit from significantly. We are grateful for their commitment and look forward to working with them in their new roles.”
The Standing Committees, which report into the ExCo, act as advisory committees to WADA, providing guidance for the Agency’s programs. Before being appointed by the ExCo, all candidates to the positions of Chairs of these committees were subject to a robust and independent process of review and assessment by WADA’s inaugural Nominations Committee. The Nominations Committee stemmed from the Agency’s governance reforms endorsed by the Board in November 2018.
As it relates to the vacant seats on the Standing Committees, the Committee Chairs will now consider the applications for vacant seats in their respective Committees with WADA’s President and Director General and propose members for consideration and endorsement by the ExCo via circular vote in February/March 2020.
Concerning other governance matters, the Nominations Committee provided recommendations to the ExCo with respect to the profiles expected for the two independent members that will join the ExCo later this year, with the objective of complementing the existing characteristics and skills of the current members. Candidates for these two seats will be nominated respectively by Governments and the Sport Movement, vetted by the Nominations Committee, and ultimately appointed by the Board at its meeting in May.
The ExCo members received an update on the compliance case against RUSADA from the outgoing Chair of the CRC, Jonathan Taylor. As communicated on 9 January, WADA filed a formal request for arbitration with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to resolve the dispute. From then, third parties had 10 days to apply to intervene in the matter, under the terms of Article 23.5.7 of the World Anti-Doping Code. The process is now in the hands of CAS and once a panel is nominated and issues timelines, WADA will file a full brief without delay, in accordance with the rules.
The ExCo was also updated on the Chair’s decision, announced on 22 January, to provisionally suspend the WADA-approved status of the Moscow Laboratory, pending formal disciplinary action. This provisional suspension prohibits the Moscow Laboratory from carrying out any work related to the analysis of blood samples in connection with the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program.
WADA’s 2020-24 Strategic Plan
In addition, the ExCo was updated on the development of a new WADA Strategic Plan for 2020-24 and provided feedback to WADA Management with the objective of submitting this plan for approval by the Board at its meeting in May. The plan will form the basis of WADA’s strategic activities over the next five years as it continues to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport