(Ottawa, Ontario – November 1, 2018) – The White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) invited sport ministers, government representatives, athletes and national anti-doping organizations from Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States for an emergency summit event: Advancing International Commitment to Clean Sport and Fair Play: Reforming the World Anti-Doping Agency. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the Government of Canada and Beckie Scott attended the meeting in Washington, DC on October 31.

The group reaffirmed the importance of a strong, independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) functioning as the global regulator for clean sport. They stressed, however, that for WADA to carry out this role and to rebuild athlete trust and confidence in their work, WADA must commit to the reforms outlined in The Washington Anti-Doping Summit Declaration before they can legitimately continue to lead a collaborative and harmonized worldwide effort for doping-free sport.

“For WADA to be credible and effective going forward, governance reforms that remove conflicts of interest and include the voice of athletes are desperately needed,” said Paul Melia, CCES President and CEO. "Without athletes, there is no sport, and without integrity, sport has no value. If substantial changes are not made, doping will continue to threaten both the health and safety of our athletes and the integrity of sport.”

Beckie Scott, Olympic champion and clean sport advocate, Andrew Campbell, Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, and the CCES’s Paul Melia, were all in attendance to share concerns about WADA’s governance and to reinforce Canada’s unwavering commitment to the anti-doping movement. 

AthletesCAN, the voice of Canadian national team athletes, support the reforms called for in the declaration and reinforced the appeal for a thorough and independent investigation of bullying allegations launched jointly with CCES last week.

“We strongly believe in the rights of our athletes to compete in a doping-free environment that provides a fair and level playing field. At the same time, we believe in the need to protect the rights and well-being of athletes,” said Ashley LaBrie, AthletesCAN Executive Director. “A continued lack of respect for the athlete voice as an equal stakeholder in clean sport and increasingly arbitrary and conflicted decisions by WADA leadership has left athletes with little faith in their ability to ethically provide oversight of the anti-doping movement. Committing to this declaration of reform is only the first step in the long road ahead for WADA to ensure they are executing an anti-doping regime that is athlete-centered – informed by, responsive to, and respectful of athletes.” 

Athletes and anti-doping officials have been advocating for changes in WADA’s governance structure since before the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. This situation was exacerbated recently when WADA’s Executive Committee voted to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) prior to the fulfillment of the terms of the reinstatement Road Map; a set of criteria which stakeholders agreed were appropriate requirements for RUSADA to fulfill prior to being reinstated and was created following the discovery of a systemic, state-sponsored doping program in Russia.

About the CCES

The CCES is an independent, national, not-for profit organization with a responsibility to administer the Canadian Anti-Doping Program. We recognize that true sport can make a great difference for individuals, communities and our country. The CCES acknowledges funding, in part, from the Government of Canada. We are committed to making sport better by working collaboratively to activate a values-based and principle-driven sport system; protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats; and advocating for sport that is fair, safe and open to everyone.

About AthletesCAN

AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is the only fully independent and most inclusive athlete organization in the country and the first organization of its kind in the world. As the voice of Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN ensures an athlete centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture.

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