MOSCOW — British Olympic official Craig Reedie is set to become the next president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, facing the “daunting” task of cleaning up worldwide drug scandals across sports.
Reedie, a vice president of the International Olympic Committee, was nominated for the WADA post Friday by the IOC executive board. He was chosen over former Olympic hurdles great Edwin Moses and former IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch.
Reedie, 72, is in line to succeed John Fahey, a former Australian minister who steps down at year end.
Reedie, already a member of WADA’s executive committee, will be put up for election at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg from Nov. 12-15. The vote is expected to be a formality.
Reedie, a former president of the international badminton federation and chairman of the British Olympic Association, was chosen to lead the anti-doping campaign at a time of great turbulence in the global sports.
Among those failing recent drug tests were sprinters Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, as well as more than 30 Turkish track and field athletes and numerous Russians. In addition, there has been a report of systematic doping in the former West Germany and the drug investigation in Major League Baseball that implicated Alex Rodriguez and 12 other players.
“It is daunting, if you look at the last seven, eight weeks of news,” Reedie said. “Yes, it is daunting.”
Also Friday, the IOC executive board approved guidelines for sanctioning the members of an athlete’s entourage – coaches, agents, mangers and trainers – who push their clients into doping or illegal betting. The measures include reprimands, unspecified financial sanctions, accreditation withdrawal and permanent bans.
Reedie will be taking over at a time when governments around the world are facing financial pressures and might be unwilling to contribute fully to WADA.
“You have to be realistic,” he said. “You cannot turn around and say to governments of the world, ‘Well, we’d actually want quite a lot more money.’”
WADA’s current annual budget is $26 million, with $13 million provided by the Olympics and the other half by governments.
“I am sure any number of high ranking sportsmen make rather more than the total of the WADA budget,” Reedie said.
Because of the tough financial times, Reedie is calling on all sides to be smarter in catching doping cheats.
“This is complicated,” he said. “I simply believe we need as much cooperation as we can. That is sports, that is government.”
Reedie cited the pre-games “intelligent testing” program ahead of the London Olympics.
“A fair number of athletes did not even appear in London,” he said. “That is being smarter, that is maybe one way to do it.”
While he backs the move toward four-year bans for serious first-time offenders, Reedie said lifetime bans are not feasible. The British Olympic Association was forced to drop its lifetime ban last year after opposition from WADA.
“There is no point in putting that into legislation because as soon as you do that you lose a case and you do great damage,” Reedie said.