Sport Ireland and the Athletes’ Commission of the Olympic Federation of Ireland have joined Canadian and Australian officials in calling for an independent investigation into alleged bullying by a number of WADA Executive Committee members at its recent meeting in the Seychelles.
The allegations were made by the chair of WADA’s Athlete Committee, Beckie Scott, pictured above, during a recent interview with the BBC.
It was Ms Scott’s first interview since stepping down from WADA’s Compliance Review Committee following its decision to recommend the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), despite two important criteria of WADA’s own ‘Roadmap to Compliance’ remaining unfulfilled. The reinstatement of RUSADA was subsequently ratified by WADA’s Executive Committee.
During the interview with the BBC’s Dan Roan, Ms Scott outlined claims that she was “treated with disrespect and bullied” by some senior officials at WADA’s Executive Committee meeting in the Seychelles last month over her public opposition to the recommendation to reinstate RUSADA’s compliance.
“Beckie Scott is the voice of clean athletes worldwide and what she revealed in her interview with the BBC is shocking, but not unsurprising given the general attitude to the views of athletes throughout the entire RUSADA reinstatement debacle,” said Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy yesterday.
“Ms Scott is a highly respected advocate for clean athletes everywhere and has been an exemplary professional throughout what has been an extremely turbulent time for the global fight against doping in sport.”
“To hear of the allegations that she was treated with such disrespect by a number of members of WADA’s Executive Committee at its meeting is deeply upsetting and should never happen.”
“To reiterate what we, and all advocates for transparency and integrity in the global doping system, have said all along – the most important people in all of this are the clean athletes. Their voices need to be heard and they need to be listened to.”
The BBC, which carry Treacy’s comments this morning also report that the boss of Australia’s anti-doping body (Asada), David Sharpe, had earlier called for an independent investigation, while the United States Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart said it was “appalling that Olympic sport leaders would attempt to suppress athletes’ voices”.
“We have already made clear that WADA’s decision to move the goalposts on its own McClaren report recommendations is unacceptable and has caused serious damage to the credibility of WADA and to all who try to protect clean sport,” added Shane O’Connor, Chairman of the Athletes’ Commission of the Olympic Federation of Ireland.
“Beckie Scott was right to resign. She stood for the principles of clean athletes all over the world. We respect her decision and stand united behind her.”
“In Ms Scott’s own words, the actions of those making these important decisions is ‘indicative of a general attitude of dismissal and belittling of the athlete voice’ and this is symptomatic of appalling manner in which athletes are treated when it comes to matters of international importance,” said Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May.
“It is important that an independent investigation into these allegations be established by WADA without delay so that any wrongdoing be corrected as a matter of urgency.”
WADA Chairman Sir Craig Reedie has previously mounted a strong defence of why Russia was reinstated. In an open letter to The Times he wrote that “In particular, the accusation that WADA – and me personally – have pandered to the interests of money over clean sport are totally untrue and deeply offensive.”
Scott has now effectively doubled down on those accusations though not naming Reedie or any other official. It raises the stakes higher still in a row that will determine the credibility of the fight against anti-doping.
Image Credit: Dan Roan on Twitter