The WADA press conference
The Executive Committee (EXCO) and Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) met in Cairo, the first time the agency’s meetings were held in Africa and the Middle East.
The meetings were held in a hybrid format, virtually and in person, in the Marriot Mena House Hotel at the Pyramids Plateau in Giza.
During their two-day stay in Egypt, WADA officials were accompanied by Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi who is also a member of the Foundation Board. They also met Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli who invited the WADA delegation to a gala dinner at the magnificent venue of the Citadel which saw the attendance of top officials of state and dignitaries.
The major decisions taken by the Ex Co and Board regarding governance reforms included these recommendations: to enhance athletes’ representation within WADA; organise regional elections for National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs); increase the representation of the board by including two athletes from the Athlete Council and two representatives of NADOs among its members; reinforce the separation of powers between the board and Ex Co through a clear delineation of roles; recognise the specific role and independence of the Compliance Review Committee; maintain and clarify the overall structure of committees and expert/working groups; clarify the independence requirements which apply to the various positions within WADA; urge WADA and its founders to further improve diversity within the board and Ex Co; and recognise the considerable financial impact that both the 2018 governance reforms and present recommendations have on WADA. In addition, the board approved the membership of the new nine-member WADA Independent Ethics Board (IEB) headed by Phil Hutchinson (UK, independent).
Following the meetings, WADA President Witold Bańka said in a press conference that the Foundation Board and Executive Committee had, during two days, made several important decisions and positive outcomes “that will benefit WADA and clean up sport for a long time to come. The board approved another important round of governance reforms, made decisions regarding increases to the agency’s annual budget for each of the next three years (2023-2025), and selected Busan, South Korea, as the host for the next World Conference on Doping in Sport in 2025,” Banka said.
Sobhi said NADO had now been promoted from Tier Two to Tier One “in recognition of the hard work of the Egyptian organisation during the past years in terms of ensuring clean sport.
“We are honoured to have hosted the WADA meetings for the first time in Africa and the Middle East. During the two-day meeting, we held fruitful discussions with WADA officials. In addition, our NADO has always been working together with WADA and following up on any updates that would confirm clean doping control.
“Our organisation is doing great, surprising federations and athletes everywhere, checking and conducting blood and urine sample tests for athletes, whether in competition, in training or at home. The effort of NADO and its President Dr Hazem Khamis has taken us now to Tier One to become the second African country besides South Africa in the top tier,” Sobhi added.
The Ex Co will next meet on 23 September in Sydney immediately following WADA’s 2022 Global Education Conference to be held in Sydney. The ExCo and Board will meet again on 17 and 18 November 2022 in Montreal. The meetings will take place in person if restrictions allow, or in a hybrid fashion.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 26 May, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.