WADA president and IOC Vice President Sir Craig Reedie CBE on Wednesday asserted he is taking quick and strong action in response to evidence of widespread doping in athletics.
In an editorial published in the Independent, he said “There have been critics of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and critics of me, and first and foremost I don’t want people to think I’m too political or too soft.
“I can categorically state I have not been soft on Russia. It was me as president of WADA that agreed with several national anti-doping organisations to create an independent commission to look into the subject of doping in Russia, the results of which we saw in all its damning detail in Geneva on Monday.”
Speaking to press at Host City 2015 on Monday, Reedie said WADA was responding to calls to be tougher.
"I think the world will want us to be much stricter and aggressive in saying whether people are compliant or not.”
The independent report revealed that officials at a WADA accredited drug testing laboratory in Moscow destroyed 1,417 samples and accepted bribes to cover up positive tests.
“It’s quite clear that that was organised between a laboratory, a national anti-doping association, almost certainly a national athletics association – three different organisations combining to beat the system.”
WADA reacted immediately by provisionally suspending the laboratory’s accreditation.
"We have responsibility for the Russian anti-doping agency and its state of compliance – quite clearly it is not compliant at the moment – we can deal with that.
“As far as the national athletics federation in Russia is concerned, that is the responsibility of the IAAF and their responsibility under the code is to make sure that the national federations are code-compliant. We will clearly work with the IAAF as closely as they want us to and as we are able to resolve this issue.”
Asked by press at Host City 2015 whether the IAAF leadership was able to handle the crisis, he said “I think the allegations of people at the top end of the IAAF are intensely regrettable. They have done the sport in my view great damage.
“This is a newly elected council, a new president. And yes I think the new leadership can do it. It’s not going to be easy and it’s going to involve a great deal of effort, but we will help them as best we can.”
Responding to a question from Host City magazine about whether athletes are in some cases victims, he said: “My experience is that very few drug cheats do it themselves; they almost always have somebody else. So I am very happy with the principle that we deal with the athlete’s entourage; the rules also say that we deal with the athlete.
“But I agree with you; if you coaches and people who are administering drugs to athletes then they are in many ways more guilty than the athletes themselves.”
Reedie told Host City how WADA has become stronger under his leadership.
“We greatly strengthened the new 2015 code by specifically targeting the athletes’ entourage. Secondly we created an offence called ‘prohibited association’, so if an athlete is associating with a known member of the entourage who has been convicted of a doping offence then the athlete shouldn’t be there.
“We have produced a list and that’s now current. If any of the officials mentioned in the Pound report are sanctioned they will immediately be put on that list.”
The next phase of the WADA-commissioned report will investigate allegations beyond Russia.
“Is there a sense that things could get worse before they get better? Quite possibly. We still await further revelations from the commission and, because of its independence, I genuinely have no idea what those revelations will be,” Reedie wrote in the Independent.
“At the end of the day, I think good will come out of evil," he told press at Host City 2015.