The IOC is backing Craig Reedie’s bid for a new three-year term as president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, despite the tensions that broke out between the two sides over the Russian doping scandal.
The support for Reedie to continue in his role came after he assured the International Olympic Committee that he would “respect the rules and responsibilities of WADA and its stakeholders,” suggesting the agency will refrain in the future from publicly calling for a nation to be barred from the Olympics, as it did with Russia before the games in Rio de Janeiro.
Reedie, a Briton who has been WADA president since 2013, is up for re-election at agency meetings in Glasgow, Scotland, next weekend. No other candidates have been put forward.
The backing for Reedie was contained in a letter from the IOC to all of its 98 members. A copy of the letter was obtained Sunday by The Associated Press.
The letter was sent following a private meeting of the IOC executive board on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland. Reedie briefed the board at that meeting.
“Sir Craig Reedie committed to respect the Olympic Charter and respect the rules and responsibilities of WADA and its stakeholders, including the catalogue of points put forward by the Olympic Movement three years ago,” the letter said.
“On this basis, the IOC will encourage the Olympic Movement representatives on the WADA foundation board to approve the re-election of Sir Craig Reedie as WADA President, as well as inviting them to speak to their government counterparts concerning a reform of the system for electing the WADA President.”
Under current rules, a WADA president is elected for three years, with the option of a second three-year term. The presidency rotates between representatives of governments and sporting bodies.
WADA and the IOC came into sharp conflict before and during the Rio Games following a report by WADA investigator Richard McLaren that detailed state-sponsored doping in Russia, including manipulation of samples at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and cover-ups of positive tests across dozens of summer and winter Olympic sports.
WADA recommended that the entire Russian team be excluded from Rio. The IOC rejected the proposal and instead let international sports federations decide which athletes should be eligible to compete.
During meetings in Rio, IOC members accused WADA of failing to act sooner on Russian doping and criticized the agency for releasing the McLaren report so close to the games.
The sides appeared to bury the hatchet last month at an Olympic summit in Lausanne, where IOC leaders backed WADA to continue to oversee worldwide anti-doping efforts and gave the agency increased powers to lead the fight. All parties agreed that an independent body under WADA’s umbrella should be set up to carry out global drug-testing.
Critics have accused Reedie of having a conflict of interest in his IOC and WADA roles. In addition to WADA president, he was an IOC vice president and member of the rule-making executive board until the Rio Games. However, Reedie’s term as vice president and board member has expired, and he is now a regular IOC member without a policy-making role.
The IOC letter also said the board agreed to a request from Reedie to match government contributions and provide $500,000 to the agency’s special investigations fund. It said this was on condition that WADA provides a “detailed breakdown of costs” of McLaren’s upcoming final report and that McLaren “actively cooperates” with two separate IOC investigations into Russian doping.
McLaren’s latest report, which is expected to focus on doping at the Sochi Games, has been delayed until next month, which the IOC said “makes cooperation more difficult” with its own probes.
Reedie and IOC leaders are scheduled to travel to Doha this week for the general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
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