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DECLARATION OF WAR BY WADA AGAINST USADA?

A Canadian Perspective.


WADA has recently released a strong and unprecedented official statement, accusing USADA President Travis Tygart of defamation in relation to the China swimmers' doping controversy.


WADA's emotional statement reads as follows:


"The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is astonished by the outrageous, completely false, and defamatory statements made by the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Travis Tygart. He has made very serious accusations against WADA in connection with the case of 23 swimmers from China reported in the media today."

This recent development has sent shockwaves not only through the world of anti-doping but also throughout all sports federations.


WADA has levied serious accusations of defamation against the CEO of USADA amidst a heated controversy surrounding allegations of doping in China.


Chaos ensued with the publication of an article in the New York Times titled "Team USA was cheated: Chinese Doping Case exposes Rift in Swimming’.


According to the exclusive report, the NYT investigated a claim that 23 Chinese swimmers had tested positive for a banned substance seven months before the Tokyo Olympic Games but were secretly cleared to continue competing.


The New York Times reports:


´China's anti-doping agency, known as CHINADA, acknowledged the positive tests in response to questions last week. However, they stated that the swimmers had inadvertently ingested the banned substances in negligible amounts, and no action against them was warranted."

It is important to note that the New York Times article not only focuses on Tygart's issues with WADA and their handling of the Chinese doping case but also highlights grievances raised by other athletes or federations, such as British Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty, his teammate James Guy, and Germany's sports minister.


Given this context, WADA's personnel attacks against Tygart without any mention of the other accusers, the New York Times, its reporters, or USADA, appear quite peculiar.


WADA claims that Tygart's comments were defamatory and baseless, prompting them to take legal action against him. However, there is no mention of the other parties involved in this saga.


One can only wonder if WADA is on a mission to discredit Tygart entirely. It is widely known that there has been ongoing tension between WADA and Travis Tygart regarding various anti-doping issues. Tygart has been vocal in his criticism of WADA's handling of doping cases, advocating for more transparency and accountability within the organization. Therefore, WADA's decision to solely accuse Tygart of defamation can be seen as a declaration of war in the ongoing battle against doping.


WADA's public media statement and personal accusations against Tygart could potentially backfire, resulting in WADA being accused of bullying and defamation against USADA and its CEO.


Furthermore, the accusations made by WADA against Tygart and indirectly against USADA have raised legitimate questions about the relationship between WADA and USADA. This legal and political battle could have far-reaching consequences, not only for the individuals involved but also for the credibility of the Anti-Doping movement on a global scale.


With the Paris Summer Olympics less than 100 days away, the outcome of this dispute will not only determine the fate of the individuals or organizations involved but also the viability of WADA as a credible and impartial global anti-doping agency.


Tygart is not alone in demanding significant actions to improve governance practices at WADA, such as increased transparency and accountability. Various stakeholders within the anti-doping community, including athletes, national federations, national anti-doping agencies, sports lawyers, and journalists, have publicly criticized aspects of WADA's governance structure to no avail.


Criticism of WADA's governance often revolves around concerns about transparency, accountability, and representation.


IMPACT ON CANADA?


Canada, will undoubtedly be greatly affected by any heightened tensions or even a potential withdrawal by USADA from WADA.


Canada not only shares a close geographical proximity to the USA but also shares many sports values and collaborates in sports events, such as the upcoming FIFA Men's World Cup in 2026.


The repercussions of an USADA withdrawal from WADA would have a direct financial impact on Canada. WADA was co-founded by Canadian lawyer and Olympian Richard Pound from Montreal, and its main business address is in Montreal, Canada. Undoubtedly, Canada would experience firsthand the adverse financial consequences of such a withdrawal.


Without USADA, one of the largest and most influential anti-doping agencies in the world, WADA would lose significant relevance.


Therefore, it raises the question of why WADA has chosen to launch an emotional, unprofessional, and personal attack on the CEO of USADA and indirectly on USADA and the USA sports industry.


Has WADA's in-house legal counsels been consulted regarding the impetuous weekend media statement?


These are valid concerns that leave one wondering about the motivations behind WADA's actions.



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