WADA President John Fahey delivered his annual address to the world’s media in London and called on governments and international sports federations to step up their efforts in the fight against doping in sport.
Speaking at WADA’s 2013 Media Symposium at the Sofitel London Heathrow, Mr. Fahey cited the Lance Armstrong case and last week’s Australian Crime Commission Report as proof that doping in sport remains an issue that requires priority attention.
In particular, Mr. Fahey highlighted the continuing and growing influence of the criminal underworld in sport – especially through the trafficking and supply of doping substances – and the sophisticated means that athletes have to beat the system.
“I have been asked many times recently whether a program of doping as widespread as that carried out by Mr. Armstrong and his team could happen in this day and age,” said Mr. Fahey, who is serving the final year of his six-year term as WADA President.
“My answer has always been ‘perhaps’, and that we need to be ever alert to the increasingly sophisticated science available to athletes today and the growing influence of the underworld.
“Whenever there are significant sums of money to be won, and glory to be gained, there always will be those willing to come up with new and more cunning ways to cheat.”
Mr. Fahey also outlined the growing importance of intelligence and the gathering of non-analytical evidence in support of traditional testing programs, and called on WADA’s stakeholders to increase the Agency’s funding which has been frozen since 2011.
“When you consider the hundreds of billions of dollars generated globally by sport every year, and the importance sport plays in our lives, it continues to surprise me why there is a reluctance to properly invest in protecting it,” explained Mr. Fahey.
WADA Director General David Howman gave a detailed presentation on WADA’s activities for 2013 and the ongoing World Anti-Doping Code Review that reaches a conclusion at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg in November.