Friday, 22 February 2008

Five Easy Questions for John Fahey

WADAwatch has certainly made clear its strong endorsement of the former Australian Minister John Fahey, who was openly elected to serve as the second president of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA).

Given that the choice had nearly been between himself, and the petulant, acrimonious Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Lamour (who'd actually withdrawn his candidature nearly simultaneously with the proposal of Fahey as an alternative), the outcome was only mired by the European media's stimulation of reactions that 'Europe was robbed!' of some unknown 'right' to succeed to the WADA Presidency.

(WADAwatch photo, showing from l. to r.:
WADA Director General David Howman,
John Fahey, Dick Pound, and newly-elected V.P. Arne Ljungqvist)

Granted, WADA's existence was born in Europe, as an offspring of the International Olympic Committee (see Chapter ONE: Who Begat WADA?), and certainly European dedication appears to be exemplary, as it is the source of 47.5 per cent of WADA's working budget.

Next Wednesday, the 27th February, is the much-awaited Media Symposium with Mr. Fahey.

This post, is an attempt to bridge the gap between typical press questions, and those that 'should' be answered (IWwHO).


Donald Rumsfeld continued a string of insanely-funny quotations, in 2004, with the following gem:

"As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

Question ONE:

Mr Fahey, ample evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, indicates that there is more reliance in the press as to assertions from WADA, on the issues relating to 'lab performance', than may reasonably be justified.

Eg: Chris Campbell's dissent in the Floyd Landis case, former UCLA lab director Donald Catlin's mentioning of 'false positives', or:

It certainly is a commanding task, to ensure that those 'WADA-accredited laboratories' have the highly sophisticated staff and training to merit inclusion in the family of WADA labs: yet are you assured that all that can be achieved, has been achieved?

Or are you content to battle on with 'the army you have'?

Question TWO:

With great fanfare, the World Conference on Doping in Sport (WCDS-Madrid) presided over the final drafting sessions for the newly-revamped WADA CODE. Several new components of the CODE have taken drastic steps to tighten the 'noose' around suspected Athletes. Whether such steps are or were necessary, their implementation does not appear to carry commensurate balancing safeguards against injustice.

If you come to a similar conclusion, through your own analysis or from future litigious events that provoke such analysis, would you initiate further redrafting, or is there no opportunity to reopen 'CODE revisions' until the next WCDS, presumably in 2011?

Question THREE:

As a follow-up to question TWO, one entirely new Article, 10.6 in the CODE relates to 'Aggravating Circumstances'.

WADA published a Legal Opinion, on its own website, in which the esteemed attorney-authors anticipated that "...judicial interpretation" would provide the necessary amplification to the words contained in the CODE. In a post from early January: "WADA: Aggravating Arrogances", this questioner asked WADA openly why it would make Athletes pay the judicial price of carrying the burden for WADA's inability to draft a fair and proper definition to the possibility posed, of doubling the standard 'two year' suspension to four years.

Mr Fahey, you now preside over an organization whose legal documents are primarily in English, and also officially in French, although the English edition prevails according to CODE Article 24.1 (identical in CODE 2003 and 2007).

There exists in the CODE, a definition of ADAMS, the WADA "Anti-Doping Administration and Management System". There is no definition in the CODE for "Aggravating Circumstances".

As a global organization holding the power to destroy an Athlete's career, whether such is merited or not, do you not feel that WADA should insert a definition of Aggravating Circumstances so that the Athlete is not unaware (in American law: 'on notice') of the potential stiffening of their potential penalty?

Question FOUR:

A cyclist recently, and famously, was suspended for two years, in the USA, from his allegedly testing positive for exogenous use of testosterone. That legal process is ongoing, and was prosecuted in the USA, under the auspices of USA Cycling, as the license-issuing Federation, and USADA, as the United States anti-doping authority for such cases.

That cyclist is currently (Feb. 2008) awaiting appeal through CAS, as is stipulated in the WADA CODE, the UCI rules and the USA Cycling rules.

In the WADA CODE, Article 15.4 demands that:

"Subject to the right of appeal ... hearing results or other final adjudications ... which are consistent with the Code and are within that Signatory's authority ... shall be recognized and respected by all other Signatories."

However, that cyclist was 'tried' in a second State, (See "Paths of Glori (-ous French Failure)" who was not the proper license-issuing authority, during the process that continues as this article appears (again, Feb. 2008).

What is the official response from WADA to such a 'double jeopardy' situation?

Follow up: Is WADA intending to seek an appeal from CAS that would render null and void this 'outlaw' legal hearing? And when will WADA re-draft the CODE to outline corrective notifications to such Signatories that are not respecting the CODE?

Question FIVE:

In the eight years since WADA's birth, it has grown into an organization of significant weight and stature. It has attempted to address many topics, and its heart and soul are at stake in the turning to your presidential reign.

One aspect that is not entirely its own fault, but certainly falls under its remit, is the aspect of 'retrospective punishment' to Athletes, who may be under no cloud of suspicion.

WADA has not, within our understanding, addressed the issue of retroactive loss of honours, medals or records, held by Athletes who may have innocently contributed to an achievement that is later revealed to have been at the hands (or feet?) of one individual who did cheat through doping.

WADAwatch points to the case involving the relay team mates of Marion Jones, in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The remaining three Athletes, are now living their own personal hell, turbulently upset by the ad-hoc request from the IOC, through the USOC, to 'request return of the medals'.

Since there appears to be no easily-researchable rules that govern the situation described, is WADA going to call on the IOC to react, rapidly and conjointly, to this retrospective void in international Athletic doping controls and consequences?

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WADAwatch would hope that the Press that attend the Symposium next week (bienvenue à la Suisse!), are asking similarly positively-focused questions on the major issues of our day.

The opinions expressed by WADAwatch are strictly formed with the purpose of inciting WADA to adhere to its Fundamental Rationale, achieve its goals and fulfil the aspirations of its Signatories, in achieving the highest possible level of objective, neutral science in sport-doping control.

Questioning WADA,


© 2008 ZENmud productions

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