In an exclusive blog post for Insidethegames.com, WADA’s Canadian founding president, Richard Pound, had harsh words for the outspoken critics of WADA in the wake of Russia’s failure to live up to its promise to deliver lab data by December 31. In the post, Pound referred to them as a ‘lynch mob.’
“Much of the response to Russia’s failure to provide access to the former Moscow laboratory data by the deadline imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee in September 2018 has all the elements of a lynch mob,” Pound writes. “Many of those making up the mob know, or should know, that they are out of line. What is their real end-game? Many others are not familiar enough with the issues to have such strident views and still more have not bothered to inform themselves.”
Pound is a lawyer with Stikeman Elliott LLP, the founding president of WADA and the senior member of the IOC.
The Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) had been given until December 31, 2018 to open up the former Moscow Laboratory to WADA investigators as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in September 2018. In 2015, it had been banned for three years after far-reaching allegations of state-sponsored doping during the Sochi Olympics by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former lab head, who revealed details of an extensive doping program to the New York Times, and who has been in hiding ever since.
WADA’s Compliance Review Committee, from which Canadian Olympian Beckie Scott resigned in protest after RUSADA’s September re-instatement, will meet in Montreal on January 14 and 15 to review the situation and recommend a course of action. Some critics even felt the committee should have convened immediately, once the deadline was missed, to ban RUSADA again.
Pound was critical also of those who expressed outrage at Russia’s reinstatement, saying it was “incorrectly characterized as prematurely welcoming Russia back to the international sport community. It was nothing of the sort.” He goes on to explain that “WADA has no power to sanction any organization–it can only declare an organization to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. Only sport organizations such as the International Olympic Committee, International Federations and National Olympic Committees have the power to suspend or expel sports or athletes.
“WADA had no such power until the new International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), which took effect in April 2018, gave it some. To date, despite the evidence of doping in Russia, only the International Association of Athletics Federations and the International Paralympic Committee–and to a certain extent the International Weightlifting Federation–have exercised their powers…
“In the present circumstances… the discussion will now centre on what recommendation should be given to the WADA Executive Committee regarding RUSADA code compliance.
“The applicable process is contained in the ISCCS [International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories]. This process requires WADA to give RUSADA a fair opportunity to provide submissions to the CRC. If the CRC recommendation is that the WADA ExCo assert RUSADA to be non-compliant and the ExCo agrees, WADA must notify RUSADA accordingly.
“If RUSADA disagrees with the ExCo’s assertion of non-compliance, the matter will then be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a final decision.
“This process is well-known to the entire anti-doping community. It is disturbing to see otherwise responsible and sophisticated organizations urge that the process be completely ignored and incite others to adopt a similar view.
“I come from a country–Canada–that has a strong tradition of respect for the rule of law. That tradition is the direct opposite of mob rule.
“I think more attention needs to be focused on those supporting the mob rule and possible reasons for their conduct. The real end-game here should be to obtain the requested data, to review it for evidence of possible doping cases that need to be pursued and to bring an end to a particularly sordid chapter of Russian conduct.
“It should also be a message that the rules apply to all countries.
“No alternatives to a robust WADA have been proposed. In only 20 years of existence, WADA has significantly raised the standards of the global fight against doping in sport.
“Efforts to discredit and destroy WADA will not help the fight against doping in sport and the protection of clean athletes, despite the athlete-centered rhetoric. They will lead to the anarchy that existed before WADA was created.
“Perhaps the real agenda is that those who would destroy WADA do not want a robust and independent agency leading this fight for sporting integrity, unless they can insert themselves into positions of power.
“Think about it…