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Enhanced Independence & a stricter Separation of Powers: iNADO´s Suggestions for WADA Governance

Until March 26, stakeholders had the opportunity to provide feedback to the Working Group on the review of WADA Governance with suggestions to strengthen the global regulator. We hope that all stakeholders felt welcome to use this opportunity to better equip WADA to face today´s challenges. 

Since the initiation of the WADA governance reforms, some progress has been achieved, however it is clear that the structure of WADA would be stronger if a) stakeholder representation (notably athletes and NADOs) in its decision-making bodies increased, and b) conflicts of interest were removed and replaced with independent expertise. In short, a reform of the composition of the Executive Committee and the Foundation Board is necessary.

The responses that iNADO provided to the Working Group followed largely three considerations:

  1. The Foundation Board must be representative of a wider group of stakeholders.
  2. The Executive Committee should be composed of more independent experts.
  3. An independent monitoring mechanism should be established. For the Foundation Board to conduct this task with credibility, a strict separation of the roles and people between the Foundation Board and Executive Committee should be implemented.  

We would like to share with all of you further feedback presented by iNADO:


In our view, the notion that “membership of a Sport Organization or of a Public Authority is not against the General Standard of Independence”, is not quite accurate. Any member who represents a constituent is not strictly independent. It is essential that WADA moves to minimize this effect by broadening the representative base of the Foundation Board, so the lack of independence in the current two power group is at least limited in impact. Stricter independence should also include a cooling-off period. 

Executive Committee

It is crucial that the Executive Committee operates independently, therefore, the standard of independence should be strengthened and at the same time, the number of independent members is increased. Independent members will bring no real or perceived alliances (or prejudices) but also an increase in diverse perspectives. It is damaging for the clean sport movement if there is any impression that previous affiliations have an influence on decision-making.

For the Executive Committee to operate independently from the Foundation Board, ordinary members should not be nominated from within the Foundation Board. The Executive Committee must be chaired by someone other than the Foundation Board President.

Foundation Board

If the Foundation Board is to be a representative body, it should include Code Signatories (NADOs) and other key stakeholders (athletes) in decision-making processes. The Foundation Board´s main purpose should become the regulatory body of WADA and the supervisory authority.

The role and composition of the Foundation Board must be separate from the Executive Committee to allow for sufficient checks and balances, including the President and Vice President.


The determination of how the full range of athletes should be adequately represented has remained a difficult challenge. Ultimately it is for athletes to decide how this should occur, although all bodies in a position to assist them in creating an appropriate representation model for all athletes to have a voice should do so. However, athletes should not be kept waiting until an adequate representation model has been found. They should be included in decision-making bodies of WADA now. 

The Working Group, chaired by Prof. Ulrich Haas, will now distill the most important suggestions for WADA governance and elaborate a preliminary report to the next WADA Executive Committee meeting in May.