Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Details on the WADA "Independent" Investigation

WADA has released the Terms of Reference (in PDF) for its investigation into allegations of systematic doping by Russian athletes and the participation of the IAAF in a cover-up. Here is the Purpose for what WADA has titled an "Independent Investigation":
The IC has been established to conduct an independent investigation into doping practices; corrupt practices around sample collection and results management; and, other ineffective administration of anti-doping processes that implicate Russia, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and other members of athletes’ entourages; as well as, the accredited laboratory based in Moscow and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). To achieve this task the IC will review evidence gathered by WADA and will request the collection of further evidence as it deems appropriate. In principle, the IC is also able to obtain information on its own initiative, including interviews with persons of interest. This however will be the exception and will be coordinated with WADA to avoid duplication
The committee of three is bound by the WADA confidentiality policy and media policy. It reports to WADA and WADA is coordinating the information gathering. The committee chair is the only member allowed to speak to the media, and the committee is planning to release very little information or documentation. All of this is troubling for an effort focused on trust and credibility.

While the investigation may ultimately be useful and lead to positive change, it is clearly a misnomer to call it "independent" in any manner. It is an internal WADA committee, which is chaired by a former WADA president. Calling a committee independent when it is not is just not good practice. WADA is not alone in facing difficulties understanding what "independent" actually means.


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