Montreal, July 24 (IANS) Several global athlete representative groups have come together to demand "proper reforms" in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). In an open letter, the bodies have asked the global anti-doping watchdog to make improved provisions for "Independence, Transparency, Accountability and Human Rights."
The letter has been signed by Global Athlete, the Athletics Association, Canadian body AthletesCAN, Athleten Deutschland, the Danish Olympic Committee Athlete Commission and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council.
"Athletes have taken notice of the "code of silence" and major decisions being made behind closed doors that undermine every athlete's right to an equal, fair, and transparent system," say the bodies in the letter.
"Athletes can no longer accept that their demands for proper reforms of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have not been addressed. Time after time, athletes' calls for change have been cast aside or written off as misinformed, despite the fact that athletes are the primary stakeholders and by far the most impacted group when the status quo persists."
The letter calls for WADA to create "a more independent free of real or perceived conflicts of interest", as opposed to the current setup in which it states that "WADA's leadership is represented in proportion to financial contributions, and influenced by lobbying by member states".
The letter also demands that "all athlete sanctions are made public, and therefore all investigations and their respective outcomes must be public as well."
"Athletes cannot be held to a higher standard than WADA stakeholders," it said.
"Stakeholder compliance decisions must be made by the WADA Foundation Board instead of the WADA Executive Committee. This change is essential for athletes to have trust in the system," it said.
"WADA can no longer self-regulate. Athletes demand accountability for decisions rendered at the highest levels of sport administration," it said.
"Athletes must have an independent and equal seat around all decision-making tables. Athletes must have the same number of seats as the IOC and governments of the world."
Finally, it demands that WADA "walk the talk" with regards to human rights of athletes. "WADA cannot claim to respect the human rights of athletes with the existence of several problematic articles within the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code ("Code")."