World Anti-Doping Agency US Olympic chiefs back organisation's reform calls

The United States Olympic Committee on Friday backed calls for reform of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), supporting demands that the body be independent and given the power to suspend federations and member Olympic Committees from competition.

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The US Anti-Doping Agency has called for a clean break between the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee play

The US Anti-Doping Agency has called for a clean break between the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee

(AFP/File)

The United States Olympic Committee on Friday backed calls for reform of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), supporting demands that the body be independent and given the power to suspend federations and member Olympic Committees from competition.

USOC said in a statement there was a need for a "clearly independent anti-doping body with overriding global authority," echoing recent calls made by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

It said a newly empowered WADA should be given ability to "suspend International Federations, National Olympic Committees, National Federations and National Anti-Doping Organizations in cases of systematic doping."

The statement follows the storm of controversy that erupted in the months before last year's Olympics, when the International Olympic Committee declined to impose a blanket ban on Russian athletes in Rio de Janeiro following accusations of a state-backed doping program.

USADA chief Travis Tygart has said the overlap between the IOC and WADA is hampering the fight against drugs, describing it as the "fox guarding the hen house."

WADA's Foundation Board and executive committee contains more than 20 IOC members, while the agency's president, Craig Reedie, is also an IOC member.

USADA has called for a clean break between WADA and the IOC -- a demand backed by USOC on Friday.

"WADA should be governed independently of the sports organizations it watches and works with and needs to have clear, transparent policies on governance," USOC said.

"No person serving in a governance role in the IOC, any NOC, IF or ANOC should also serve in a governance role for WADA," it added.

In addition, USOC called for WADA to be properly funded, saying it needed "more funding from more governments as well as from the IOC."

It added that whistleblowers also needed to be given "specific protections" and "clear, easy means for reporting violations."

"The US Olympic Committee stands with every clean athlete around the world in promoting integrity, health and every athlete's fundamental right to compete in clean sport," the statement said.

"We are committed to partnering with the global sport community to ensure sport remains a fair and unifying force for good that inspires everyone to achieve more."