WADA president criticizes US for “wrong report”

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Witold Banka criticized the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) report about WADA as “it’s full of inaccuracies and distortions”.

In the 19-page report, ONDCP mainly criticizes WADA’s lack of categorical actions against systemic doping in Russia and accuses the lack of Americans in managerial positions in the agency, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

“The ONDCP hopes that the new WADA leadership will implement the reforms needed to repair the image damage and increase confidence in the face of the Russian doping scandal. And the US government will not rely solely on hope and will continue to demand and monitor WADA structural reforms,” wrote ONCDP in the report, while the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Travis Tygart threatened that if WADA does not change the way it operates, the US may suspend its funding.

In response, the former Polish sports minister Witold Banka, who has been head of WADA from January 2020, hit back at ONDCP in the Wednesday interview for Polish media.

“I read the report and I noticed mistakes and inaccuracies. I had a feeling that it was written in a rush. You can get the impression that USADA is behind everything because they want to gain more control over the system or create new and greater financial resources from Congress at the expense of WADA,” Banka was quoted as saying by Przeglad Sportowy.

“Just before the final version of the report was prepared, I had a very constructive meeting with James Carroll, head of the ONDCP, who mentioned that the report may contain critical conclusions, but we did not expect something like that. It included unfulfilled demands concerning activities that are not even within the control of WADA. This completely undermines the credibility of the report,” added the Pole.

The WADA’s president emphasized that he wants to focus on dialogue.

“James Carroll renewed the invitation to the White House, I replied with arguments and we will certainly meet when it is possible. There is a will to listen, congressmen want to meet too, and I think the Americans will not back down from WADA co-financing. This would also be a disadvantage for US athletes. It is said that WADA must be stronger, but we will not achieve this by reducing the contribution,” concluded Banka.

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