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WADA president responds to MPCC calls for resignation

Joe Robinson
29 Oct 2018

Sir Craig Reedie defends recent WADA decisions around tramadol, Froome, Puerto and Russia

After being called to resign in an open letter by the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) last week, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Sir Craig Reedie, has issued a strong response to each of the MPCC's complaints. 

Reedie was asked to resign by the MPCC - a collection of teams who adhere to additional doping measures than those set by WADA - with the letter attacking the president over four particular issues: the Chris Froome salbutamol case, the use of tramadol, the Russian state doping scandal and Operacion Puerto.

Reedie has since responded to these criticisms in his own letter addressed to MPCC president Roger Legeay and made public by BBC sports editor, Dan Roan.

In this letter, he defended his position stating that he 'fully intends to lead the anti-doping movement until the end of my second term next year.

'That is the extent of my mandate and at that stage I will be happy to pass on the leadership of the organisation to my successor on December 31, 2019, full in the knowledge that it is stronger and more effective now than it has ever been throughout its 20-year existence.'

After reaffirming his position, Reedie went on to address each of the four complaints lodged by the MPCC with the rationale for recent decisions.

Reedie started by commenting on the issue of tramadol, a powerful painkiller that remains a legal substance for professional cyclists, but which the MPCC has long campaigned to see banned. 

'There is not currently any consensus among WADA's Prohibited List Expert Group - which is composed of experts who are independent of WADA - that tramadol meets the criteria for inclusion on the List,' said Reedie.

He then also commented that he supported the UCI's decision to control the use of the substance in cycling which has been criticised for its potential performance-enhancing capabilities.

Reedie then moved on to the Operacion Puerto case which the MPCC has recently labelled a 'debacle'. 

The blood doping scandal from 2006 which implicated many of cycling's top riders with doping doctor Eufamiano Fuentes has still to reach a conclusion with many vocal about the number of unidentified riders who went unaccounted for.

Reedie stated that WADA 'has done everything possible to date from a legal standpoint and in every other way' before then stating that 'to criticise WADA, in this case, demonstrates an astonishing lack of knowledge and understanding of what has happened to date.'

Moving on to the decision for WADA to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency despite the Sochi Winter Olympics scandal was a 'democratic decision' reached following a clear majority handed down by the Independent Compiance Review Committee that is 'the right decision for clean sport.'

Then on the MPCC's claim that WADA had 'contradicted its own rules' in regards to Chris Froome's adverse analytical finding for salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, Reedie claimed the issue had been 'over-simplified'.

'WADA remains convinced that the UCI reached the correct and fair outcome in what was a very complex case,' said Reedie.

'Your efforts to over-simplify it, without having knowledge of the voluminous file of the case and both the scientific and legal challenges it raised, demonstrate an unfortunate attempt to cast a shadow on WADA's credibility and an obvious refusal to accept the reality of what happened.'

Froome was cleared of any wrongdoing for an AAF for salbutamol just days before this year's Tour de France and after having won the Giro d'Italia, while under investigation, earlier in May.

Reedie then attempted to finish the letter on the front foot, citing the recent decision to increase former US Postal team manager Johann Bruyneel's ban from the sport from 10 years to life.

Alongside team doctor Pedro Celaya, Bruyneel joined Lance Armstrong as being banned from cycling for life for their parts in the US Postal Service doping saga, that helped Armstrong win seven consecutive Tour titles from 1999 to 2005, following a Court of Arbitration for Sport decision.

'I would like to point out that your letter was received on 24th October, ironically the same day as WADA won a significant victory for clean cycling in securing enhanced bans for three of your sport's most notorious cheats,' Reedie replied.

'The decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to uphold our appeal, which was supported by the UCI, USADA and everyone who cares about clean sport, has certainly undermined your assertion that WADA is not upholding the rights of clean athletes.

'In fact, nothing could be further from the truth - in everything we do, WADA is keeping the athletes to the fore.'