US faces potential WADA sanctions over funding withdrawal
The United States could face sanctions if they cut off funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
WADA said in a statement on Friday that several government representatives have expressed concerns “relative to threats from the United States Government to withdraw funding from the Agency if WADA did not fulfill a number of conditions,” Xinhua news agency reported.
“These Governments have identified what they consider to be a weakness in the rules whereby a Government can unilaterally refuse to meet its agreed funding commitments without facing any significant consequences,” the statement read.
“They feel that what is happening with the US Government could create a negative precedent internationally that could be replicated and would jeopardize the entire global anti-doping system.”
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released a report in June concluding that the US was not fairly represented in WADA proportionate to its contribution – US $2.7 million per year to the core budget of WADA – and that WADA had not made enough efforts in reform.
According to WADA, government representatives have asked the Agency to consider the possibility of amending its rules so that such a move could face potential sanctions.
WADA president Witold Banka said the Agency would follow the representatives’ suggestions.
“We will examine the rules to see if they need to be strengthened in light of the current situation. As always, due process will be followed and this will be a matter for discussion and consultation,” said Banka, who assumed his role at the beginning of this year.
Banka said his focus is “absolutely” on the welfare of athletes, and that the anti-doping system that “has served clean athletes” must be protected.
“Fairness for athletes all over the world remains my number one priority. I will never let clean athletes become hostages of political games. Under the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories there are many possible consequences that do not impact the athletes,” he continued.
Finally, Banka said he was ready to “work with the US Government on this” and called for unity from all stakeholders.
WADA will hold their Executive Committee meeting on 14-15 September.