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'Arrogant' WADA on a slippery slope & reform is needed - Sport Ireland's Dr Una May

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have been branded 'arrogant' and their conduct 'unbelievable'...

'Arrogant' WADA on a s...
Other Sports

'Arrogant' WADA on a slippery slope & reform is needed - Sport Ireland's Dr Una May

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have been branded 'arrogant' and their conduct 'unbelievable' by Sport Ireland, over their decision to end the suspension on Russian anti-doping agency, RUSADA.

Dr Una May - Director of Participation and Ethics at Sport Ireland - oversees the Irish Anti-Doping Programme, and was critical of the decision made by the world's governing body.

"It is not entirely a surprise because we have seen WADA go down a slippery slope where there is a conflict of interest within the organisation.

"We have seen some decisions that have been uncomfortable to us over recent years, and we have asked for a review of the governance of WADA for some time," said Dr May.

"But the level and scale of upset at the suggestion that this recommendation was being made. There was a very strong sentiment being expressed around the world between athletes, national anti-doping agencies, governments, ministers and so on.

"To have been able to ignore that huge level of disappointment and frustration at even the recommendation is surprising; that they are arrogant to the extent that they would make a decision that goes against everybody's opinions and views."

The concern remains that RUSADA has merely spent time immunising themselves from accusations of corruption going all the way to the highest echelons of the Russian government.

Dr May also spoke of what she felt were ongoing conflicts of interest between actors involved in the anti-doping community, and that justice would likely be impeded by governments not speaking out against international organisations with whom they do business.

She also impressed that there is good work going on at lower levels within WADA, but that Sport Ireland believes there is a need for fundamental reform of its governance to improve its overall function.

"One of the biggest issues is the fact that the anti-doping communities [...] are not included at the WADA table. Athletes don't have a voice at this executive level.

"That smacks of bias and conflict of interest. Whilst we have governments involved in the decisions and the sports movement – like the Japanese government who are hosting the next Olympic games - it is not in their interest to cause furore with the International Olympic Committee."

Dr May also believes that this is far from being the final chapter in the fraught relationship between national anti-doping agencies and WADA.

"We have an awfully long way to go. This Russian situation is quite possibly not the first or the last of these kind of situations. But what it has done is shown WADA's blatant disregard for the views of the athletes and the anti-doping community in their ability to make a decision like this in the face of huge resistance."

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