— Published 26 November 2021

Athletes are gaining ground


The reform train is moving at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Meeting in Paris in hybrid mode, its Foundation Board adopted a series of changes on Thursday 25 November, aimed in particular at giving athletes a greater say in the decision-making process. In detail, the Executive Committee was enlarged, with the addition of two new seats. One of the two will be allocated to an athlete representative. WADA also approved the creation of an independent ethics committee. Finally, the representation of athletes is changing: the former Athletes’ Committee is becoming an Athletes’ Council, whose 20 members will now all be chosen by their peers, rather than appointed by WADA. Progress? Certainly. But several athletes’ groups consider the reforms still too timid. And they are making this known. In particular, they criticise the fact that decision-making power is still too concentrated in the hands of the IOC, which alone provides half of WADA’s funding. “To be considered legitimate, WADA should not be controlled or directed by anyone with a vested interest in the sport ecosystem,” suggests a statement by four athletes’ associations, including Global Athlete, a movement initiated by former British track and field athlete Callum Skinner.