The World Anti-Doping Agency has been urged to implement "stronger" reforms by athlete groups ©Getty Images

Athlete groups have come together to call for "proper reforms" at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to improve independence, transparency, human-rights provisions and accountability.

Global Athlete, the Athletics Association, Canadian body AthletesCAN, Athleten Deutschland, the Danish Olympic Committee Athlete Commission and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council have all signed an open letter requesting action is taken.

It calls for WADA to "create a more independent structure free of real or perceived conflicts of interest", claiming "WADA’s leadership is represented in proportion to financial contributions, and influenced by lobbying by member states".

The athlete groups contend this "eliminates a majority of nations from ever holding a seat on WADA’s Board or Executive Committee" and insist funding and decision-making must be entirely separate.

They also want "equal independent active athlete representation" on the WADA Executive Committee. 

In terms of transparency, all athlete sanctions and related investigations should be made public - and so too stakeholder compliance decisions - the groups argue.

They contend that decisions being made behind closed doors undermine athletes' rights, and also say "WADA investigations must have detailed terms of reference with a clear requirement for public reporting".

The letter goes on to claim "WADA can no longer self-regulate".

The proposed solution is for athletes to have "an independent and equal seat around all decision-making tables", with neither the International Olympic Committee or national Governments having more seats.

WADA is additionally called on to review "several problematic articles within the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code".

The groups say that WADA President Witold Bańka has indicated willingness to meet with athletes to discuss such issues in September, but that "the urgency of these reforms" and the uncertainty of current times led them to state publicly their position.

A WADA statement given to insidethegames in response to the letter said: "WADA welcomes all constructive suggestions to further strengthen the Agency and the global anti-doping system. 

"WADA is engaged in an ongoing dialogue with athletes worldwide and different groups representing them to keep on enhancing the effectiveness of the protection of clean sport. 

"We highly appreciate these diverse voices. 

"We also look forward to sharing with all athletes the progress being made on significant WADA governance reforms already underway."

The US Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) last month threatened to pull its funding of WADA unless the international body undergoes major reform after submitting a report questioning whether American investment in WADA represented value for money.

US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) chief executive Travis Tygart said the critical report painted a "realistic, non-political picture". 

USADA's Facebook and Twitter accounts have both promoted the athlete bodies' open letter today - heavily in the case of the Twitter account.