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Statement on The WADA Executive Committee’s Decision to Reinstate Russia from Travis T. Tygart, CEO, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency

USADA Logo“Today marked the biggest decision in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s history, and it delivered a devastating blow to the world’s clean athletes. By ripping up the very ‘Roadmap’ it created, WADA’s decision to reinstate Russia despite the nation not having met the two remaining Roadmap conditions is bewildering and inexplicable. In its landmark meeting today, WADA sent one clear message to the world: we put the wishes of a small handful of sports administrators above the rights of millions of clean athletes and the dreams of billions of sports fans.

There is, however, a far bigger issue at stake following today’s WADA U-Turn than Russian compliance- and that is the clear message about the type of WADA that WADA has chosen to be versus the type of WADA the world wants to see.

Over the last week, the world’s athletes have made it abundantly clear what WADA they want. Athletes from Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States have come out like never before to demand a robust, independent and confident WADA that stands on its own two feet. The world’s athletes want the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – and the conflict that their involvement brings to clean sport – to stay well away from WADA. They want a WADA with teeth, authority, sanctioning power and the determination to get the job done of cleaning up sport and restoring the trust of the billions of sports fans and athletes worldwide. Today, that job must start – and it starts by reforming WADA and giving it the power to regulate as any good global watchdog must do. It starts by WADA actually listening to the world’s clean athletes who are speaking up, right here and right now. It starts by removing the inherent conflict of interest that comes about from the IOC fox guarding the WADA henhouse. The road to the new, stronger WADA must start now. And let’s be clear: absolutely nothing will be off the table for how we, the anti-doping community, begin the work of reforming WADA.”

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