The meeting of the World Anti Doping Agency today promises to be as tense as any sporting moment this year with clear lines drawn on the vote to reinstate the Russia Anti Doping Agency.
Yesterday we reported how Sport Ireland had lined up alongside the UK and 13 other National Agencies to oppose the move until the full recommendations of the McLaren Report are implemented.
The CEO of the US Agency has said that a deal too early would ‘stink to high heaven.’
Vice President of WADA and a likely candidate for the top job next year, Norway’s Linda Helleland has also come out strongly against the proposal, which will be voted on behind closed doors on Thursday.
“This moment will forever define the credibility of WADA as the independent and strong front-runner for clean sport,” she said in an unambiguous statement of her position.
The campaign against reinstatement suffered a setback yesterday though when the IOC Athletes Commission declared they were in support.
The WADA Executive Committee has twelve members who will meet today to vote on the issue in the Seychelles.
They include Government Ministers from New Zealand, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Poland and the African Union; sporting representatives from Basketball, Archery, National Federations, the IOC and the National Olympic Committee of the Czech Republic and Helleland alongside President Sir Craig Reedie.
The arguments are likely to be fierce and the vote watched closely in sporting and wider circles around the world.
“The confirmation from WADA that the organisation’s Compliance Review Committee will recommend the reinstatement of RUSADA at this week’s WADA Executive Committee meeting is deeply worrying,” said Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy.
“This is despite the fact that two of the criteria outlined in WADA’s own ‘Roadmap to Compliance’ remain outstanding.
“The wording of this document is very clear; Russia must publically accept the reported outcomes of the McLaren Investigation, and must provide access for appropriate entities to the stored urine samples in the Moscow Laboratory. Neither of these criteria have been satisfied.”
“What is also clear is that WADA has softened its stance on the strict conditions which are laid out on the ‘Roadmap to Compliance’ and it is our view that this is not in the interests of clean athletes and all those who believe in protecting the integrity of sport.”
If it is voted down today then a question will still remain over what evidence they used to suggest the reinstatement.
If it is accepted though, then there will be a much closer examination needed of just what world sport is willing to do in defence of clean competition.
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