The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has endorsed Craig Reedie’s bid for re-election as president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).
The backing comes despite the relationship between the two bodies having grown fractious in recent months amid the ongoing fallout from the Russian doping scandal.
Wada called for a blanket ban on Russian athletes during the Rio 2016 summer Olympic Games after it emerged that the country engaged in a widespread, state-sponsored doping programme. The IOC rejected the calls and left the banning decisions in the hands of respective International Federations (IFs). Several IOC officials criticised their Wada counterparts for the agency’s stance on the matter.
However, the IOC has now backed Reedie (pictured) for re-election after it was suggested that Wada would refrain from calling for nations to be banned from future Olympic Games. In a letter to each of its 98 members, the IOC signalled its intention to back Reedie’s re-election. The letter was sent following an IOC executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland last Thursday.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press news agency, read: “Sir Craig Reedie committed to respect the Olympic Charter and respect the rules and responsibilities of Wada and its stakeholders, including the catalogue of points put forward by the Olympic Movement three years ago.
“On this basis, the IOC will encourage the Olympic Movement representatives on the Wada foundation board to approve the re-election of Sir Craig Reedie as Wada president, as well as inviting them to speak to their government counterparts concerning a reform of the system for electing the Wada president.”
Reedie, himself a former IOC vice-president, has served as Wada president since 2013. He will stand for re-election at Wada meetings in Glasgow, Scotland on November 19-20 and faces no competition for the position.
Reedie is poised to serve a fresh three-year term until 2019, after which point it has been proposed that the system used to elect the Wada president be reconsidered. The presidency currently rotates between representatives of governments and sporting bodies.
The AP reported that the letter also said that the IOC board has agreed to a request from Reedie to match government contributions and provide $500,000 (€464,000) for Wada’s special investigations fund – on the condition that Wada provides a “detailed breakdown of costs” of the upcoming final report of Wada investigator Richard McLaren, whose initial dossier revealed the extent of Russia’s doping programme.