Open letter to the World Anti-Doping Agency

The Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC)'s General Assembly met on this October 24th and adresses an open letter to the World Anti-Doping Agency. In this letter, MPCC highlights the consequences of a situation which hurts the whole world of sport and question the very foundations of the international rules and regulation. Thus, MPCC's General Assembly calls for the resignation of WADA's president, Mr. Craig Reedie.

 

 

When the World Anti-Doping Code was created in 2004, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was instructed oversee the compliance to this code. Thus, it releases every year a List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, which is constantly updated following the results of scientific studies. The list applicable to 2019 was released on October 1st.

 

Tramadol, which is a very powerful synthetic opioid used as an analgesic, made its way into the list of WADA Monitoring Program in 2012. Though, it is still not part of the Prohibited Substances for 2019. The Movement For a Credible Cycling (MPCC) made a formal request to WADA to put Tramadol on the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods as early as 2014. This request has been renewed every year since with a strong emphasis, supported by cycling’s international federation, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

 

Under article 4.5 of the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA shall establish this Monitoring Program and thus set and oversee the prevalence of usage of these substances. In 2015, Tramadol was detected in 5.9% of the samples taken in cycling. In 2017, this figure dropped to 4.4%. This level is dropping, but is still higher than in any other endurance sports. These sports are as much concerned about this as cycling. MPCC wishes to see this substance banned in competition for ethic reasons (performance enhancing), but also for the sake of the riders’ safety and health. To leave things as they are could endanger the health of our athletes.

 

MPCC laments the lack of evolution of the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods year after year, and the update for 2019 is nothing more than the confirmation of this trend.

 

Since its creation in 2004, The World Anti-Doping Code has been aiming at the standardization of the anti-doping rules and sanction across all sports and all countries in the world. As of today, more than 660 sport organization commit to the Code. Nevertheless, MPCC is not satisfied with how the Code is executed depending of the sports. The whereabouts rules, for example, are not applied in the same way for all the sports: collective sports, especially, benefit from a specific treatment as they can only be controlled during collective trainings, and not on an individual level, out of these slots. We already highlighted a differential treatment about the Puerto Case since 2006. WADA failed in how it handled this case: MPCC regards this as a debacle for the World Anti-Doping Agency.

 

About Chris Froome’s case and specifically how that handled by WADA : MPCC laments the way sanctions are not applied equally and procedures are not followed equally, which is devastating for the credibility of the sport, for WADA itself, and thus is devastating for the confidence which athletes ought to have in the world’s anti-doping agency and its independence and integrity. The World Anti-Doping Code states that it “is not consistent with therapeutic use of thesubstance and will be considered as an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) unless the Athlete proves, through a controlled pharmacokinetic study, that the abnormal result was the consequence of a therapeutic dose (by inhalation) up to themaximum dose indicated above”. Though, in the press release following its decision, WADA admits that a CPKS wouldnot have been practicable. The handling of Chris Froome's case showed clearly how WADA was in contradiction with its own rules. Disrepute was brought upon the fight against doping, hurting cycling in a big way and spread confusion among the public and only achieved one thing : fueling suspicion around a case that was already at the center of the media attention.

 

On last September 20th, WADA announced the decision of its Board to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), under a certain number of conditions. RUSADA was suspended since November 2015. This reinstatement relied upon two conditions: the acceptance of the conclusions of the McLaren Report on the reality of institutional dopingon the one hand, and granting access to Moscow’s anti-doping labs on the other. These two conditions have not been met.

 

 

Several statements were made, rising up against this decision:

 

‘Such a step would seriously damage the credibility that the world anti-doping system had just begun to winback’ 

French Anti-Doping Agency(AFLD), Press release following RUSADA reinstatement.

 

‘I am afraid that by opting for the easiest way out, it will ultimately hurt WADA in the future. We have to stand up for athletes all around the world.’  

Linda Helleland, WADA’s Vice President, voted against the reinstatement of RUSADA.

 

 

‘This bewildering and inexplicable decision is a devastating blow to the world’s clean athletes.’  

Travis Tygart, American Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)’s President

 

‘It is clear that given the circumstances (...), any decision by WADA to reinstate RUSADA would be a catastrophe for Olympic sport ideals, the fight against doping and the protection of clean athletes’ 

Grigory Rodchenkov, Former Moscow lab director.

 

 

MPCC refuses to be complicit in WADA’s dubious decisions.

 

MPCC reminds WADA that its primary role is to uphold clean athletes.

 

MPCC laments WADA’S lack of answers regarding the movement’s requests of the last 10 years, especially about corticoids, with are a very important topic.

 

MPCC calls for WADA to show more independence.

 

MPCC highlights the consequences of a situation which hurts the whole world of sport and question the very foundations of the international rules and regulation. Thus, MPCC's General Assembly calls for the resignation of WADA's president, Mr. Craig Reedie.

 

MPCC asks the organizers, international or national associations, athletes, national anti-doping agencies and all the signatories of the code, to give voice and support our action.

 

MPCC invites all the stakeholders to join forces with all of those who have already raised their voices in this direction.

 

451 members of MPCC :

7 World Tours teams - 23 Pro Continental teams - 9 Continental teams - 6 UCI Women teams - 264 Riders - 98 Staff members - 6 Agents - 9 Federation members - 9 Organization members - 9 Sponsor members - 14 Members sympathizing with us

 

Read Sir Craig Reedie's response