The World Anti-Doping Agency is completely outdated as it is no longer an effective tool in fight against doping. Endless doping scandals, bureaucratic acrimony, lost doping samples, inability to protect sensitive data from hackers… WADA mistakes and failures have been numerous in the recent years. Today the world sports community doesn’t regard WADA as the warrant of fair play. Unfortunately, the Agency ceased to be the body that is capable to deal with doping at big sports events.
WADA officials strongly believe that any doping problem can be solved just with punitive actions. Unfortunately, such an attitude prevents them from taking really effective measures to reform the anti-doping regulation. If WADA can’t admit the fact that the problem goes beyond its control, it would be better to rethink the validity of this institution.
The need of essential changes in WADA’s structure has been already discussed soon after the Olympics 2016 in Rio. The national anti-doping organisations of 17 countries including the USA, Germany and the UK called for an overhaul of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The 17-nation group proposed that WADA becomes more independent in order to be free from any prejudice and pressure from International Federations and National Olympic Committees.
However, instead of making reforms WADA keeps playing the role of the main executioner. Moreover, WADA steps undermine the fundamental principles of Olympism and its noble goal to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind without discrimination of any kind, such as race, language or national origin.
WADA enjoys suspending the accreditation of the laboratories even without giving any reason or detail of such a decision. Only this year, WADA has provisionally stopped the work of labs in Paris and Bucharest. It seems that WADA is just trying to demonstrate its efficiency. However, no one has been persuaded so far.
It’s difficult not to be puzzled by WADA’s role in Russian doping scandal. Russian athletes were caught doping plenty of times. Russian sports authorities have been demonstrating their incompetence for a long time. Nevertheless, the exclusion of the Russian national Olympic team from the Games in Pyeongchang as representatives of a sovereign state recognized by the United Nations and the world community is a gross violation of the Olympic Charter adopted in 2015.
Although sports officials described this case as the temporary suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee and consequently the ban to use Russian national symbols during the competition, this fact contradicts the Rule 59, Chapter 6 of the Charter that does not allow the exclusion of the entire country from the Olympic Games.
There is no doubt that collective punishment is not a panacea in fighting against doping. It is essential to deal with the reasons of similar clamant violations without damaging clean athletes’ reputation whatever country they compete for.
A ban from the Winter Olympics appears to be a political decision not a desire to fix the current situation. The review of national teams’ ban cases throughout the time proves that there had always been some political sanctions for doing it.
In 1920, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria were banned for launching WWI. In 1924, Germany was suspended for the same reason. Besides, Germany and Japan were banned from the 1948 Olympic Games for starting WWII.
In 1964, the IOC disqualified the Republic of South Africa for the policy of racial discrimination and apartheid. In 2000, the national team of Afghanistan wasn’t accepted to the Olympics because Afghan women were forbidden to take part in sports events.
At last, The Indian national team was suspended from the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games for government interference in the matters of the Indian Olympic Association.
Thus, it is clear that each national team suspension has been caused by some political reasons. The exclusion of the Russian team from the Games in Pyeongchang is obviously a political step WADA has taken to strengthen its position in the sports world instead of fighting against doping.
WADA can’t stand with Russia’s cheating but puts a blind eye to high-profile doping violations in weightlifting. And it seems that sports officials are not planning to remove this kind of sport from the Olympics.
WADA’s ideology and its methods are very controversial. In fact, WADA reminds a gangrene infection – and as we know, sometimes the only way to save the life is to cut off an affected limb.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.