iNADO chief executive Jorge Leyva has supported calls for strengthened WADA governance ©iNADO

The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) has backed calls for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to have more independent members and greater participation of athletes in the decision-making process.

iNADO issued a statement following the publication of the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) report, which threatened to pull its funding of WADA unless the global watchdog undergoes serious reform.

iNADO chief executive Jorge Leyva said the essence of the ONDCP report was the call for further improvements to WADA governance.

"Since 2016, a group of leading NADOs and iNADO have called for WADA to embrace good governance practices detailed in the Copenhagen Reform Proposals," Leyva wrote.

"The intention of the reform proposals is to strengthen WADA, the global regulator in anti-doping, by becoming an independent and transparent organisation that continuously and reliably works to adopt best governance practices. 

"WADA has made positive steps in this direction.

"iNADO acknowledges and applauds this.

"However, by decisively removing further potential conflicts of interest within its governance structure, the organisation will increase its credibility in the eyes of the athlete.

"Confidence in WADA's ability to be a strong protector of the clean athlete has been severely affected in recent years and greater efforts need to be made to rebuild trust with the athlete community.

"By promoting more transparency in all spheres of the organisation and opening itself to the athlete voice WADA will be better positioned to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with athletes to achieve the common goal of clean sport. 

"National Anti-Doping Organisations need an effective and trusted WADA and iNADO will support efforts to move in in this direction."

WADA has claimed the ONDCP report sought to discredit the anti-doping watchdog ©Getty Images
WADA has claimed the ONDCP report sought to discredit the anti-doping watchdog ©Getty Images

The ONDCP issued a series of recommendations in a report to the United States Congress last month.

The ONDCP criticised the structure of WADA and questioned whether the country's investment into the organisation was value for money.

The United States contributes $2.7 million (£2.17 million/€2.39 million) to WADA, more than any other nation, and with the International Olympic Committee matching Government funding, this amounts to $5.4 million (£4.34 million/€4.79 million).

The ONDCP also criticised the country's lack of representation on WADA governing boards and committees, when compared to its financial contribution.

As well as calling for more independent athletes and anti-doping stakeholders on its committees and decision-making bodies, the ONDCP also urged WADA to be "free from undue influence by sports organisations with a direct financial interest in its decisions".

The ONDCP also said WADA's top leadership bodies "should be proportionate to financial contributions," including better representation from the United States.

WADA reacted angrily to the report, claiming it was written "without due regard for the facts or context and with the clear intention to discredit WADA".

WADA claimed that the report was full of "multiple inaccuracies, misconceptions and falsehoods".

The organisation responded with a version of the original report complete with annotations, highlighting inaccurate information, as well as additional facts WADA claims was omitted from the original version.