WADA President Witold Banka said he was encouraged by the levels of engagement expressed by Executive Committee members during the two-day virtual meeting ©Getty Images

Progress with governance reforms was among the topics discussed during a two-day virtual World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee meeting which concluded today.

Updates were given on the organisation's progress on various priorities and members took decisions including approving the list of prohibited substances for 2021.

Proceedings began with a minute's silence in memory of former President John Fahey, who died last week at the age of 75.

Fahey, who died in Australia on September 12, served as President of the organisation from 2008 to 2013.

The Executive Committee received a report on the progress of the implementation of a series of governance reforms, which were agreed at a Board meeting in November 2018.

Members of the committee decided an expert working group to monitor WADA's progress with the reforms amid criticism from the United States and other countries.

The new working group will be comprised of one independent expert as chairperson, two experts nominated from each of the sports movement and the Governments, and one athlete, with the exact composition to be finalised in November.

An update was received on discussions between WADA and the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) following a threat that it would withdraw its WADA funding unless the agency agreed to a number of demands related to its governance.

The Executive Committee supported work to improve dialogue between WADA and the United States, which have been locked in a public dispute in recent months.

"It is very important that WADA and the US authorities work together to further strengthen anti-doping and again, I state my willingness to be part of constructive discussions in order to ensure collaboration between the US and the global anti-doping community,"  WADA President Witold Bańka said.

An update was given on the situation with anti-doping programmes around the world, which ground to a widespread halt during the height of the coronavirus pandemic but have started to resume as restrictions have began to ease.

WADA has also formed an expert testing group to identify lessons the system can learn from the coronavirus pandemic.

WADA Athlete Committee chair Ben Sandford, a New Zealand skeleton racer, reported on the work of the working group which is looking at ways to further develop athlete representation at WADA.

Bańka said he had conducted virtual meetings with hundreds of athletes from various Athlete Commissions around the world and promised to continue this.

The Executive Committee received an update on the situation at the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), whose director general Yuriy Ganus was dismissed from his post in August.

WADA is continuing dialogue with authorities in Russia to stay up-to-date with the situation.

RUSADA's appeal against the series of sanctions imposed by WADA is scheduled to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in November.

The Executive Committee also approved various documents including the 2021 Prohibited List, which will be published before October 1 and comes into force in 2021.

This list details the substances and methods prohibited both in and out of competition under the World Anti-Doping Code.

"I am very encouraged by the level of engagement and solidarity that was expressed by Executive Committee members over the past couple of days," Bańka said.

"Representatives both from Governments and the sports movement were united in emphasising the importance to continue to strengthen WADA and to support it in the delivery of its mission in the service of athletes."