Thursday, 29 November 2007

Part TWO: WADA laboratory to standardize...


In the body of the CODE...

(Part ONE of this two part essay dealt with the situation of legal imbalance, as established in the documents that created the World Anti-Doping Agency, its CODE and International Standard for Laboratories.

Focus on these imbalances led to this blog: WADAwatch, and an eight-page Questionnaire for Labs. The starting basis of analysis, consisted simply of agreeing with WADA that standardization and harmonization must begin with the laboratories that have been 'honoured' with the title of "WADA accredited".)


In the body of the CODE...

Since its inception, WADA has not laid out a proper legal path that would hold the accredited Laboratories to simple performance of their legal duties.


Simply put, WADA laboratories must perform nothing less than 100 per cent supportable scientific tests, that display penultimate reliability, reproducibility and consistency, so as to avoid ambiguities that result in loss of scientific credibility.


The mistaken path began with Article 3.2.1; WADA granted its laboratories a 'presumption' that their work as to Sample analysis and Custodial procedures would comply with the ISL, while the Athlete could rebut that by establishing that a departure from the ISL occurred.


The failure-factors here are associated with the inequity of a shield being offered, through which a laboratory could hide any malicious agenda, incompetence, or worse failures, while affecting an Athlete's livelihood. WADA appears not to grasp how this failure also carries augmented legal costs that any accused Athlete must bear, to overcome the presumption and the subsequent burden-shifting(s).


Although WADAwatch is convinced that the best purposes of WADA would be upheld only through parallel application of the 'strict liability' rule to both Athletes and laboratories, a CAS arbitrator in Madrid supported the presumption unconditionally, commenting that “you couldn't operate without that presumption”.


WADAwatch remains unconvinced that this is so, especially if removal of the presumption forced more intense efforts to do cleaner science in these labs.


But Article 3.2.1 is only the tip of the iceberg.


In Article 6.4, the CODE mandates (“shall”) its labs to follow the ISL. Remember that 3.2.1 already stipulated the presumption that this had occurred in particular cases (Article 3 being concerned with 'proof of doping'; sub-Article 3.2 concerns establishment of facts and presumptions).


Thus there exists the paradox that a presumption is granted to a laboratory in 3.2.1 that it did perform analysis and custodial duties according to the ISL, prior to its receiving the duty (shall analyze in conformity), as expressly granted (in 6.4).


In most legal works, such as treaties or this WADA CODE, it is desirable to establish a duty (shall analyze in conformity), prior to offering a presumption that work performed subsequent to this grant (and accreditation!) has been presumably performed in conformity.


The reasoning, which underlies the paradoxal 3.2.1. presumption, fails emphatically as we pass from Article 6.4 to Article 7.1 and 7.2.

Newly-modified, this Article on Results Management prescribes regulations for the proper management of confidential testing results. In its relevance to this discussion, it is timely to ponder why WADA moved away from its reasonable wording “...any apparent departure... that undermined the validity” toward “...any apparent departure... that caused” the AAF. There are no notes that indicate the substantive reason for changing this.


Legally speaking, it is quite a farther leap in the legal arts, to prove that an apparent departure 'caused' an AAF, than to prove that the apparent departure 'undermined the validity'. In choosing this variation, WADA and its Signatories appear to be distancing themselves from conceding a possibility of laboratory incompetence.


As one example, a severely flawed Chain of Custody document could seriously impact the validity of an AAF result, but unless the Athlete can PROVE that the flawed document concealed a laboratory's replacement of his or her sample with that of another competitor (negligently or through... sabotage?) there is little chance to prove that it 'caused' the AAF.


Thus might one surmise that WADA is redrafting its rules simply to win more cases? IF on bad scientific methodology (to a level that would have severe consequences for a lab's accreditation) and poor rules, an empire is made, so be it...


However therein lies a greater debacle, if one reads Article 7.1 & 7.2 carefully.

Simply described: WADA, via Article 6.4, holds labs to high standards of performance. Upon receiving results (worthy of leaking?) at an Anti-doping Organization (ADO), Article 7.1 tells that ADO to analyze the positive A sample results of the lab, to ensure that (among other things) no “... apparent departure... caused” the AAF.


And, having ensured that (if such be the case) no apparent departure had caused the AAF, the ADO rightly should inform the Athlete as to the situation, and his or her rights for B Sample confirmation testing. This creates such an obvious void that one is hard-pressed to understand how WADA's Signatories avoided this for four years.


PROBLEM ONE:
There is no statement in CODE Article 7, as to the procedures to follow when an ADO does find an apparent departure that caused the AAF. As well, or at least, there exists no reference to ISL Article 5.3.8, which expresses procedures for 'complaints of nonconforming testing work' pursuant to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Section 4.8 (without naming potential parties, as one could imagine the ADOs who may have observed an apparent departure).


[here, from ISO:IEC 17025/2005:
4.8 The laboratory shall have a policy and procedure for the resolution of complaints received from customers or other parties. Records shall be maintained of all complaints and of the investigations and corrective actions taken by the laboratory (see also 4.11).

4.11.5 Where the identification of nonconformities or departures casts doubts on the laboratory's compliance with its own policies and procedures, or on its compliance with this International Standard, the laboratory shall ensure that the appropriate areas of activity are audited in accordance with 4.14 as soon as possible.]


PROBLEM TWO:
There is no statement in CODE Article 7, which allows an ADO or other Signatory to convene any WADA disciplinary procedures for a laboratory's apparent departure that caused the AAF.


PROBLEM THREE:
There is no statement in CODE Article 7, which forces the ADO to reveal an apparent departure that caused the AAF to the Athlete whose test result has apparently been improperly determined.


In Article 8, fair hearings are defined, yet the CODE could simply emphasize that the use of the term 'Person' implicates all Signatories, ADOs, WADA and others who may have violated WADA CODE Articles, by simply redrafting these to be more definitive in the range of 'Person(s)'. This would aid, when matters involving confidentiality or laboratory suspensions are to be properly adjudicated. Further reasons for doing this will appear soon enough, with analyses of Article 13 (below).


WADAwatch has promoted a discussion, that the conflict of
presumptions (Art. 3.2.1) that precede duties, (Art. 6.4) and departures (Art. 7.1 and 7.2) that, once found, are relegated to a judicial no-man's land (No substantive redress; see Problems 1-4), regarding potential laboratory failures are inadequately addressed in the CODE.


Thus it is no surprise that the CODE includes, in a long leap of
unsupportable logic, beyond the pale of normative legal writings, the means in Article 13.5, whereby such laboratories may appeal from their mystery suspensions (apparently only found in the ISL).


PROBLEM FOUR:
The CODE drops the ball by expressing how a laboratory shall appeal a decision taken by WADA to suspend it, after failing to delineate either a) mandatory CODE Articles addressing how ADOs proceed on their justifiable findings of apparent departures, b) in the alternative, clear, precise CODE reference(s) to any relevant ISL Articles on suspensions or revocations.


That leads any legal reader to only one justifiable conclusion: that the sole prerogative to pursue a laboratory resides within the ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS decision of undefined WADA staff.

  • The ADOs have no authority: they cannot address in Article 7 how to proceed on any 'apparent departure'.
  • The IFs don't have the authority also, for much the same grounds.


In-depth study of the WADA ISL shows a presumption on WADA's behalf that solely through failure to perform a WADA Proficiency Test series could a laboratory find itself suspended or dis-accredited by WADA. In ISL Article 4.4.11.2 the listed criteria for suspension omit any input stemming from ADOs or Signatories.

In most large companies, a policy towards employees can have as a model the formula 'three written warnings in 12 months is sufficient grounds for termination'.


Why WADA hasn't seen any substantive reason to render transparent its means for imposing laboratory discipline, is still a
meritorious question.


In this writing, WADAwatch skips over the serious problem of multiple party appeals allowed against a finding in favour of an Athlete, found in Article 13.2.3; a double-jeopardy situation that should be heinous in the concept, is outside the balance of this paper.


Terminating this CODE review, it is imperative to address Article 20, which defines to a degree, the roles and responsibilities of each category of WADA Signatories. Common to every class of Signatory, is the vigorous pursuit sub-Article (eg: Article 20.5.6):


20.5.6 To vigorously pursue all potential anti-doping rule violations within its jurisdiction including investigation into whether Athlete Support Personnel or other Persons may have been involved in each case of doping.


As WADAwatch continues to stress the importance of these
newly-accepted clauses, since their inclusion within each class of Signatory...
(listed: IOC (20.1.7), IPC (20.2.7), IFs (20.3.9), NOC/NPCs (20.4.8), Major Event Sponsors (20.6.5))


... WADA should, by the wording in previous Articles, be establishing a solid legal basis for any Signatory to address the situation of an apparent departure emanating from faulty or negligent laboratory work, since a laboratory qualifies under the WADA Definition of a Person.


But maybe Mr Andersen, Director of the WADA Standardization and Harmonization Committee, is right?


He claimed, over lunch in Madrid, that all the observed lacunae in the CODE addressed by WADAwatch, are found in the CODE's progeny:

do the ISL and IST cure all?


One aspect is readily clear: the words '
apparent departure' do not appear anywhere in the ISL. This casts grave doubts on the ability of the ISL or IST to regulate a problem, when the basic terminology to be regulated is non-existent.


Reading ISL Article 5.3.8 (
Complaints), one sees that an imprecise wording allows for complaint handling to be “in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Section 4.8”, however no ISL text regarding who may complain has been expressed. Here, again, are the relevant Articles from ISO/IEC 17025:2005:


[ISO:IEC 17025/2005:
4.8 The laboratory shall have a policy and procedure for the resolution of complaints received from customers or other parties. Records shall be maintained of all complaints and of the investigations and corrective actions taken by the laboratory (see also 4.11).

4.11.5 Where the identification of nonconformities or departures casts doubts on the laboratory's compliance with its own policies and procedures, or on its compliance with this International Standard, the laboratory shall ensure that the appropriate areas of activity are audited in accordance with 4.14 as soon as possible.]


PROBLEM FIVE:
One could improve the ISL by expressly including all classes of Signatories that have the power to complain to WADA about shoddy lab work processes or procedures, including leaks of confidential testing results to the press. One could also hope that reference to ISL Article 5.3.8 be expressed in the CODE, to enforce the regularization of the procedures, rights and responsibilities that are shared by WADA's Signatories.


PROBLEM SIX:
One could improve the ISL by expressly delineating the clear steps for WADA to respond to investigation requests of laboratories by its Signatories, to implement those investigations, to render transparent the results of those investigations, and expressing its range of punitive suspensions.


Regarding the lack of usage of 'apparent departure' in the ISL, what does appear in Article 5.3.9, is the phrase 'any non-compliance or procedure'. However, the only application in this context, is regarding a laboratory's internal requirements to document such non-compliance or departures as part of the permanent record for that Sample.


It must be stressed, however, that any improvement to the ISL, without reference from the CODE to such ISL Articles, would be less forceful, than its inclusion within the CODE.


A further reminder, also, that a laboratory that departs from proper procedures, must keep record of that in its permanent record for that Sample. Should that departure cause an AAF, we revert to the problems discussed earlier.


An ADO should be able to do more than 'complain', and the WADA CODE does not express how Signatories can enforce WADA's obligation to investigate these situations. An ADO that proves a 'departure' had caused the AAF, and that the departure came from the laboratory personnel, ought to be able to justify its decision to halt disciplinary action against an incorrectly-accused Athlete, without fearing the ogre of an appeal action by any other potential parties (altered for the 2007 CODE: WADA, IF, IOC, NADO of country of Athlete's residence).


In ANNEX A, Article 3.4.5, WADA finally puts into writing the concepts of 'Overall Laboratory evaluation'. It lists “factors for consideration”, which “include, but are not limited to (eg: false positives, false negatives,... responsiveness to WADA, etc.)”. With this phrasing, the list could be persuasively expanded to include '
apparent departures' or 'non-compliance or departures', and/or complaints pursuant to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Section 4.8 procedures, adopted in ISL Article 5.3.8.


SUMMARY

WADA cannot claim to have achieved 'Standardization and Harmonization' concerning laboratory work procedures and results, until it acts to rectify the omissions of laboratory performance control and oversight, through inclusion of the family of Signatories in the manner suggested herein.


Signatory Federations and ADOs, whose reputations are as dependent on these labs as are the Athletes, should request urgent attention to redress these omissions. WADA cannot afford to allow four more years to pass, before bringing laboratories into strict compliance with the current body of WADA regulations that, with these proposed modifications, should offer sufficient controls.


SOLUTION(S)


Notably, WADA could spend more resources in ensuring testing harmonization, through endorsement of machinery performance, test standardization and harmonization, and techniques far beyond its present range of oversight. WADA could endorse even stricter laboratory regulation, which might be seen to have dual motivations: ensuring worldwide testing standardization and harmonization, and ensuring increased support by Athletes for tighter doping regulation.



Let's hope that WADA, is watching (since they could save a pile of money: free legal analysis!),

..........@..........WADAwatch

(link to Part ONE)

Part ONE: WADA laboratory to standardize...


As an independent observer to the WADA World Conference on Doping in Sport in Madrid, WADAwatch was privileged to join a distinguished lunch table of critical participants...

(critical defined in three senses: their on-point professional positions, their laser-beam focus on the issues, and... perhaps a slightly jaundiced regard for WADAwatch's analytical presumptions)

...to discuss perceived omissions of the WADA CODE, as has been repetitively discussed at the crystelZENmud and WADAwatch blogs (There's a CODE link at the right).


ZENmud productions has postulated previously that the WADA CODE, and its subsidiary document the International Standard for Laboratories (“CODE”, “ISL”) lack the necessary control elements to protect Athletes from improprieties in laboratory work performed by WADA-accredited labs. As well, the CODE and the ISL lack any non-arbitrary disciplinary function against the labs, that can be implemented by any Signatory other that WADA.


Many hours (50<100) of pro-bono legal research and analysis were contributed by your Humble Narrator to the cause of global doping control in sports, yet that didn't appear a sufficient effort from outside WADA, to convince certain officials at the table we shared.
Admittedly, those are officials whose daily lives have been, much more than that of WADAwatch, fundamentally attuned to the CODE and its progeny.


Maybe their long hours and years of support of these documents is exactly what prevents them from seeing the 'fresh-eyes' obviousness of the situations that were analyzed by ZENmud productions.
There ARE serious problems remaining in the CODE, even after its acceptance by the Signatories. Yet these pertinent parties have been on notice as to those problems for long over the three months now since the questionnaire was developed.


The crystelZENmud Questionnaire for labs had dealt with these lapses, and was sent some three months ago, but for any number of reasons the WADA-accredited laboratories did not choose to respond to our request for answers and information: so much for laboratory and WADA's transparency... or momentum thereto?


In spite of their reticence to be persuaded, there's no backing down here, as the paradigm of WADA oversight of its accredited laboratories remains in need of drastic reform, before... well before it gets any worse than what we've seen, in the Armstrong-EPO accusations, the Landaluce and Landis cases, and any number of other cycling 'affairs'.


If it takes a new and more-convincing argument, then the time is ripe for convincing the Rune Andersens and Anne Grippers of the sporting world.


A review of the
WADA CODE reveals the situation... as pertinent Articles such as the Introduction offers this:

To ensure harmonized, coordinated and effective anti-doping programs at the international and national level with regard to detection, deterrence and prevention of doping.
[.....]

The purpose of the WADA CODE, itself, is to advance the anti-doping effort through universal harmonization of core anti-doping elements. It is intended to be specific enough to achieve complete harmonization on issues where uniformity is required, yet general enough in other areas to permit flexibility on how agreed anti-doping principles are implemented.”


WADAwatch agrees with WADA itself, that its standardization and harmonization programs regarding detection (and prevention) of doping, by any reasoned thinking, must implicate the laboratories that detect positive Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs).


Plainly stated, the WADA CODE's Purpose shows how the means of achieving greater impact on doping Athletes, substantiates its desired end result:

  • “...universal harmonization of core anti-doping elements”, and
  • “...complete harmonization on issues where uniformity is required,”

... are two concepts that must implicate the laboratories, if intended to advance the global anti-doping effort.


One would be hard-pressed to reason that, in creating and implementing the WADA CODE espousing universal and complete harmonization, WADA did not have the laboratories foremost in its collective mind, as described above.


Other 'harmonization' paradigms could or should include 'sanctions and process' against the Athletes, as well as Signatories' adoption of the CODE, rights and responsibilities of WADA and the IOC, etc. Yet in the primordial sense, no other priority should have been permitted to supersede the harmonization of WADA's accredited labs.



But WADA did exactly that, through all the early years of its world-wide growth. Certainly, in the four years since acceptance of the WADA CODE, a long series of Tech Docs were established, but why didn't WADA standardize laboratory performance and harmonize global testing procedures?


The WADA CODE offers a fundamental rationale, the most relevant words being these below:


...it is the essence of Olympism; it is how we play true. ...characterized by the following values: Ethics, fair play and honesty [.....] Respect for rules and laws."



WADAwatch must agree with WADA (at least its CODE Drafting Committee).


Ethics, fair play, respect for rules and laws: these all
must implicate the laboratories as they work under the CODE, ISL and IST, the ISO 17025:2005 laboratory standard, as well as the Declaration of Helsinki Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects.


If evidence abounds, which together is proving that standardization and harmonization hasn't happened, wherein lies the fault?


In the body of the CODE... (Part two of this post)


WATCHING! WADA

..........@..........WADAwatch

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

WADA town: Madrid 2007


It's only been eight days since WADAwatch returned from an impressive visit to a lovely city, finding new friends and enjoying the world's attention being focussed on the transition between the Pound presidency and the new Fahey era, slated to begin on 1 January, 2008.

In Charles Pelkey's article from VeloNews (filed 17 November, 2007; however it discusses the events occurring on the 18th?), is published a WADAwatch photo. If you click on the photo within the VeloNews site, you'd be surprised to know that the Arabic news bureau Al Jazeera was covering this event as well: their correspondent
is holding the yellow-foam microphone...

Here's an excerpt from Pelkey's article:

WADA elects Australia's Fahey to succeed Pound

"We express our belief that it is in WADA's strong interest to have a chair whose designation and election is decided by consensus," Bergner told the meeting. "We regret that the internal process among public authorities for the designation of a candidate was ruled by procedures which did not have the prior agreement and the consensus of all public authorities."

But Pound rejected the proposal, likening it to a 400-meter running race in which one of the competitors pulls a hamstring.

"You can't just ask to start the race over at that point," Pound said.

Fahey said he would continue to live in Australia and work closely with Ljungquist, who resides in Sweden, and the staff at WADA's Montreal headquarters.



As we wind down on Pound's era, and commence to turn a new page, a John Fahey-driven movement should press for the re-invigoration and substantial improvement of WADA's achievement of its Fundamental Rationale: in an amelioration of "Ethics, fair play and honesty", as well as "Respect for rules and laws"...

Ample incidents of
WADA CODE violations appear constantly in the news; they are never discussed, or remain un-discovered. The word 'TABOO' comes to mind, as far as the WADAwatch concept of "equal justice under WADA law" has been implemented.

This column will produce an 'Open Letter' to new WADA president Fahey, Secretary General Howman, and Director of the Standards and Harmonization Committee, in the very soon future. Its purpose is to again put WADA on notice, as well as their Signatories that represent political and IOC member entities, that there is a vast failure in the linking of laboratory responsibilities to the CODE and ISL.

Back to...


WATCHING! WADA

..........@..........WADAwatch



Monday, 26 November 2007

WADA world turns...

A multi-tasking agency, ZENmud productions has been off on a film-creation adventure that began (production-wise) about an hour after landing back in Geneva, Switzerland, from the WADA World Conference on Doping in Sport, which ended on 18 November, 2007.

WADAwatch is certainly invigorated, energized, through the contacts made, and especially the lively discussions that our lunch-table encounters shared.


In this past WADAwatch post:
M
adrid ELEVEN: stratospheric déjeuner (FR: lunch)

... WADAwatch discussed how Saturday's lunchtable brought together the best possible group for my independent blog-author to join, and since that day a week ago, one can only wonder what conversation the participants might have shared, if WADAwatch hadn't taken a seat at a table offering the nexus of cycling and the future of WADA's control of sport doping.

In a deep discussion with Rune Andersen, WADA Director of the Standards and Harmonization Committee, he emphasized that the crystelZENmud/WADAwatch Questionnaire for WADA laboratories, developed and sent to the then-34 WADA-accredited labs in the early fall, expressed unfamiliarity of the WADA International Standard for laboratories.

In a nutshell, it was the contention by this author that the WADA CODE 2003/2007 (as approved in Madrid), fell woefully short on control against wayward laboratories who, through inadvertance, error, negligence or malice, may have failed their duty to perform their testing function in adherence to the WADA and other international standards that most or all high-quality labs find elementary to their functioning within the law. Andersen countered this opinion.

But WADAwatch is going to develop and publish a further statement as to the imbalances between the WADA CODE 2007 and the ISL, because with the utmost in respect, Mr. Andersen's statements seem without substantial support, to this legally-trained author with treaty-editing experience. This would sound incredible, or brash, perhaps, if coming from someone else.

Fourteen-hour filming assignments, daily for a week, didn't allow for a post-operative debriefing from WADA's World Conference in Madrid.

We'll soon be back on this, for the benefit of WADA, and its Signatories.


Watching!WADA from a usual perch (filets de?)

..........@..........WADAwatch


Monday, 19 November 2007

Madrid LAST: RAP-up

The WADA Third World Conference on Doping in Sport ended in the flurry for which readers enjoyed nearly-realtime posting of photos and commentary here at WADAwatch.


In the current week, ZENmud productions is wearing another hat, that of independent film producer, currently engaged in a project to create a documentary, primarily destined for an Indian audience, but with global ramifications...

Thus the WADA-WCDS post-partem impressions are on the nightly burner, and hopes are to publish same before this film project ends.

So WADAwatch, by necessity, will take a back seat to this 14hr/day demand on professional time, after reminding a growing, and faithful audience, that on Tuesday, Andy Kashechkin's case will begin in a Belgian court, using the defense that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), via its alignment with the World Anti-doping Agency, is operating in violation of Kashechkin's human rights, principally from the late hour in which his Out-of-Competition testing was performed.

Read more about that, from the website BikeRadar.com...

And with the hat-switching at ZENmud productions, a small reminder that Sport and Doping are not the world's most important problems that our generation(s) must share and solve,

Together.

WATCHED! WADA

........ @ ........WADAwatch

Saturday, 17 November 2007

WADA President in current press conference, Nov 17th 2007

How the rest was won...

... we're listening to how the consensus procedure, which certainly had a
now-discredited and obviously petulant candidate, Jean-Pierre Lamour of France, abdicating his prerogative, and thus leaving his 'coalition of the thrilling' in Europe, joining in the petulance.

Mr Pound articulated, "The European countries had three years to bring a candidate... they knew the election was today."





Mr Fahey was just asked if he'd heard the rumour that he'd withdrawn his candidature yesterday, and WADAwatch is under the impression that he who just (behind Ww one seat) asked the question, may be the one who promulgated the rumour.




















PRESS results: maybe WADAwatch is a bit down on the list?


WADA picks Australian Fahey as its new chairman

Pound accused the European contingent of behaving "quite improperly."

"It has not done the organization any good," Pound said. "It has not done Europe any good. The rest of the world is puzzled."


White House drug policy chief Scott Burns, a member of WADA's executive committee, said the European move to install Drut made a mockery of the system.


"It's just like sport and the buzzer went off and one team lost by a point," Burns said. "Could you say, 'Let's just add 10 seconds to the clock or how about one more quarter?' That's not what we're about."


That's a RAP...

....@.................WADAwatch (copyright 2007)



Madrid (lucky) THIRTEEN: WADA President to be, or NOT to be??


Isn't it always the case, in international settings of high diplomacy, that the unresolved decisions,
the contentious issues, are often resolved at the last moment, due to the phenomenon of 'Flight Home, or Airplane-Ticket Syndrome'?


Are you there, breathlessly waiting for the scoops?

Here it is:


John Fahey
elected President
of WADA




More to come...


Watching! WADA LIVE

..........@..........WADAwatch

Madrid TWELVE: a WADA concern for the CODE...


There are few times when being an outsider are as pleasurable, as when having 'restrictions' in one's status (the now-boring exile to the basement Observer status) are reversed, by the fact that the pre-lunch, post-closing ceremony Press Conference was brought to our Auditorium B...

How could lowly WADAwatch be removed from the only room we had full rights to be in?


Joined by Michael Hiltzik and Charles Pelkey...

(Bon voyage! "Happy trails, tou you-ou, until we meet again...")

... in the front row where WADAwatch had homesteaded 'legal rights' to the one electrical plug, provided for the usually hardly-used camera setup, we soon were joined by Mr. Outgoing (in the second attributable sense of the word) President Dick Pound.

Stand by, as WADAwatch moves back in to the Auditorium B, for a momentus announcement, and maybe a worldwide scoop.

Live at WADA, the Last Act of Mr Pound?


WATCHING WADA! Breathlessly,

........
@................WADAWatch



Madrid ELEVEN: stratospheric déjeuner (FR: lunch)


In the Arena of the Gods...


Hat's off to the facility catering staff, here at the Palacio Municipal De Congresos, for again providing even the exiled-in-attendance Observers (B status: Status A Observers do get to be in a balcony zone where on presumes they could see the podium discussions).


And perhaps the most unanticipated aspect of this experience, here in the 'belly of the beast', was a bonus for this author, this under-financed independent author of a tiny blog in the blog-universe.


Who could one, who loves cycling, deplores both doping and the perception of an incomplete and partial system of 'justice' towards professional cyclists, specifically, or all Athletes in general, have hoped for at the final luncheon sponsored by WADA in Madrid?

WADAwatch was in heaven, relatively speaking, to have found Mr. Patrick McQuaid, president of the UCI, sitting at a relatively unpopulated table. Approaching him, a judgement that maybe the thinning, airport-bound crowd was allowing audacity to reign.

"May I join you?" asked this author, while offering an introduction.

"Please feel free..." (or similar words), and then...

Ms. Anne Gripper came to join the (or her) UCI boss, and then Mr. Arne Ljungqvist, WADA's incoming vice-president (see this WADA Q &A for more data-points) came up.

Feeling extraordinarily privileged already, as the Lone Avenger of cycling fans, with my history of supporting Floyd Landis clearly reflected in my introduction to those who were already present, I held my breath a moment when we next were joined by Mr. Richard Young, whose history with WADA included being a major drafter of the original WADA CODE 2003, as well as the Chairman of the WADA CODE redrafting Committee, and lead prosecutor for the Floyd Landis case.

Who else could possibly join?

Try Rune Andersen, Director of the Standards and Harmonization Committee, which produced the International Standards for Laboratories and Testing (ISL, IST), as well as the Technical documents that substantially codify the work of the accredited labs.

Another two gentlemen, one who represented FIFA, and one whose name (or role) WADAwatch did not retain, made up our lively table of eight.

Requesting a bit of Ms. Gripper's time, as well then as Mr. Young ('Anne' and 'Richard' as far as table manners are implicated...), I offered them my reasoning for having worked so very many hours, as a concerned spectator with a legal degree (and attitude?), on the WADA Questionnaire for Labs, which one can download here.

Now WADAwatch will state, clearly, that in spite of feeling a bit adversarial as to what has transpired at the nexus of doping, cyling, the UCI ProTour v ASO, and the diabolical leaks perpetually non-astonishing us all, that spread from the French journal L'Equipe, meeting these men and one woman, speaking with my convictions, was an eye-opening, and incredible moment.

Mr. Young and Ms. Gripper both accepted printed copies of the first WADAwatch questionnaire. A strong hope exists, that in some day to come, the courtesy of a follow-up discussion will clarify the points that were raised.

Discussing the day in Morzine with Pat McQuaid, where this author was one of the thousands who cheered, Pat recalled being in the car that followed Floyd, along with Jean-Marie LeBlanc, and their having shared a common contemporaneous joy at 'witnessing a major feat', only to have since lost that sensation, perhaps as some of us are reluctant to act similarly.

Discussing the Mayo case, WADAwatch projected its amazement that the French laboratory had the right to shut down mid-contract, and that that amazement was reflected in some rather harsh words, mostly directed at the French facility, given its 'history' in maintaining itself in the wrong spotlight, case by case by case... she was on record that there is no problem with a 'third test' being still the 'B Confirmation test', simply as that the result in Ghent was 'inconclusive', and the 'B sample' was still maintained in the same receptical that first had Iban's fingerprints upon it.

Returning to my concept of the CODE, and its selected 'omissions', WADAwatch thanked Richard Young for his candor, and his appreciation that hours of study, as one versed in the precision of treaties and similar controlling documents, had generated a finite list of desired, labwork-directed amendments.

Mr. Rune Andersen was, in light of his role with WADA as Director of Standards and Harmonization, stridently supporting the principle that the suggestions I'd highlighted were clearly evident in the ISL and IST. WADAwatch respectfully countered that, if such were the case, and as was suggested in the Questionnaire, at the very least the CODE could be referring to the relevant ISL and IST Articles.

(While typing this, an audio feed of the WADA Foundation Board discussion of the next President, and the history of the candidatures, was slowly reduced in volume, so that may be technical or indication of a 'closed door session')

However, as he also graciously accepted a copy of the Questionnaire, hope remains that a discussion could ensue, as to how to ensure that the laboratories are treated no differently than are the Athletes who depart from the positive role of the CODE, or Federations and now Governments who are found to be outside acceptable compliance as to their CODE and other obligations.

Nearly a live report, from...

...
the Arena of the Gods

Watching! WADA, tableside

..........@..........WADAwatch


Madrid TEN: WADA difference a Day makes...

After a beautiful evening amongst new friends in Madrid, what could make the last day magical, than to run into two American 'heros' for the cycling fans that have followed the Floyd Landis case:

Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times, and
Charles Pelkey from VeloNews...

(a VAST, WADAwatch “thank you” to both: putting faces to names shares the finest human quality)

... time to share our pre-final session views, banter about WADA's pending choices, and with a minimal link for Web-searching, a very much appreciated thanks again, for signalling the fact that the Council of Europe apparently had placed a last-minute candidature for the WADA presidency, to a certain Monsieur Guy Drut, Frenchman with ties to Jacques Chirac and...


Dare we introduce that Drut's record includes, à l'Americain (As Bush the Greater had pardoned Casper Weinberger), a pardon by
Monsieur le president Chirac for certain financial misappropriations that may be linked to the current investigations into the former presidency?


(Jésus mio, he even looks like Casper (the Ghost) Weinberger, doncha think?)

The following news items concerning the Drut files are excerpts from...

AFP: Drut, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and also a former French Minister for Sport, had been touted by the Council of Europe as a last- minute alternative candidate to the Australian politician John Fahey.


"We had a process that called for nominations to be submitted by September 20... there is no possibility to reopen the process to add candidates," Pound told a press conference.


"There is one candidate and there are no other candidates," added the Canadian lawyer.


Drut had said earlier on Friday he would accept being the "candidate of compromise" for the WADA presidency after Pound steps down at the end of the year.


A second item is more profound, found in the Guardian online (UK) :

Yesterday afternoon, in a fresh twist to an already farcical tale, the disgraced French International Olympic Committee member Guy Drut declared himself as a potential candidate for the chairmanship 24 hours after European sports ministers had called for a six-month postponement to give them time to find a candidate.

Drut is banned from serving on IOC commissions for five years after being convicted of corruption in France in 2005. He withdrew from Paris's attempt to host the 2012 Olympics to avoid embarrassing the bid but was given an amnesty by President Chirac in May last year, a background that renders his candidacy as inappropriate as it was unexpected.


A French government source distanced themselves from Drut's declaration but the uncertainty and intrigue that gripped the Palacio de Congresos yesterday were entirely a result of European attempts to derail the election.


At the heart of the row is dissatisfaction among some European nations and the Council of Europe at the candidacy of Fahey.



Don't we think that a better resolution to the Lamour fiasco, after M. Lamour pulled out of his seat as Vice-President of WADA, and thus eliminating his status as candidate for the Presidency of WADA, would have been to have European Ministers bringing a conciliatory attitude to the WADA Executive Committee and Foundation Board meetings, knowledgeable and appreciating that in the relative haste to promote WADA as the be-all in drug testing worldwide, certain items remained un-enunciated in the body's documentation?


All that to say 'Swallow it', CoE, and get the WADA ship straight for another election, forwardly looking to the fourth World Conference on Doping in Sport, probably to be held in 2011.


More to come, on this, as we have now on stage a read-through of the “Madrid Declaration”, one of these exercises that brings out the 'best' of diplomacy ('dop-lomacy?), a four-page document chock-full of sentence clauses commencing with: whereas, mindful, reiterating's (and of course, given the meetings we've enjoyed), “stressing”.


FLASH: we are apparently CLOSING, for the ceremony is about to begin.


THAT would indicate that a PRESIDENT may not to be named today (I'm literally typing and linking too much to keep an ear to the actual news! Thanks to WADA, am sitting on a staircase, borderline illegally in the Press zone, sigh...), which is, if true, only pure evidence of European recalcitrance creating disharmony in the World's most (cough) harmonizing organization.


UDPATE: rather than edit out the above paragraph, it came to light that the WADA Foundation Board is currently (14h30 CET) meeting to discuss the status quo, including the late entry of a convicted and pardoned former IOC member, whose previous actions have, as stated above in the Guardian article, forced him into a five-year 'exile' (there's a familiar ring to that word, here in WADAworld-Madrid).


That includes the election of either John Fahey, Guy Drut, or no one.


At TrustbutVerify, they have found quite a French-ist, neutral and pride-showing article announcing the unprecedented candidature of Monsieur Drut, while ignoring the sordid details that one hopes are simply accurate, if printed as they were.


(The rest of this post precedes the above revision, posted here in brown-font color)


Where now, John Fahey?


Where now WADA!



THAT also indicates that the CODE is not to be adopted by acclamation prior to the closing...


Wherever WADA itself is going, its first session post-inauguration of the WADA CODE, ends in the ambiguity that it brought to Madrid.


On stage now, is Adolph Ogi, one of WADAwatch's own personal heros of the Athletic and Political world, a former President of Switzerland:

"...Doping, racism, violence: all this is destroying sport. Let's make it clear, ... sponsors are not interested in paying..." said Herr Ogi.


WADAwatch has been honoured by several compliments from various sources, including Michael and Charles, and thanks other bloggers, especially TrustbutVerify, for their links and excerpts. Due to our 'in Exile' status, we were not able to have a concrete Web link (which was personally requested for assistance, and that assistance was not forthcoming, but we're satisfied with the level of coverage we've been able to provide our audience).


WADAwatch conclusions about the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport will be filed on Monday, as this author has always been a data-sifting, evidence-weighing, not-hasty (not really) sort of analytical personality, but there are one or two consistent considerations that can already be expressed...


WADAwatch is not favorable to a FRENCH WADA President:

  • The basis of the Lamour candidature, his explosive reactions to the Fahey candidacy, the petulant responses from the Council of Europe and others, would disqualify ANY official (Especially one convicted for crimes?!!) from a country such as France;

  • The long history of 'untrustworthy' laboratory results from the French lab, who illegally participated in a lynching of Lance Armstrong, who instigated and have so far won the Floyd Landis case on questionable data, deplorable work competencies, and barely-adequate information retention (IT) actions, whose work has been overturned in the Landaluce case, and whose decision to 'Go on Strike'


A well-deserved WADAwatch break to enjoy the closing ceremonies, is about to begin... and another heartfelt thanks to TrustbutVerify for having shared my photocartoon with a 'slightly' (smile) larger audience... muchas gracias, mi hermano! More to come in the afternoon.


Thanks for... as always...


Watching! WADA LIVE!

..........@..........WADAwatch


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