Protection, Opportunity, Doping, Press Releases

Reaction to Revelations of Suspected Chinese Doping: Need for Independent Investigations and Appropriate Consequences

Berlin, 22 April 2024. Athleten Deutschland is appalled by the extensive revelations from the ARD doping editorial team and the New York Times about a massive suspected doping case from China.

Léa Krüger, member of the Supervisory Board of Athleten Deutschland: “If the allegations turn out to be true, WADA’s apparently negligent behaviour would be a slap in the face for all clean athletes: They play by the rules. They accept strict liability as a cornerstone of the anti-doping fight and they naturally accept the rigors of the global doping control regime.

Our sympathy goes first and foremost to those athletes who have lost out to the allegedly doped Chinese athletes in competitions, including in the context of the last Games in Tokyo. The lost life highlights and missed athletic and financial opportunities are irretrievable.”

Maximilian Klein, Director of Sports Policy at Athleten Deutschland, adds: “WADA should fulfil independent control and supervisory functions in the global fight against doping. The prerequisite for this is that the athletes in particular can rely on and trust its ability to function. It is therefore even more important that WADA upholds its own integrity by acting in an exemplary and transparent manner.

WADA’s handling of the Russian state doping scandal has already led to a massive loss of trust among athletes, which still reverberates today. The fact that WADA has apparently once again failed to deal with a suspected case on this scale is reopening old wounds. The latest revelations threaten to leave clean athletes completely resigned. Shortly before the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the credibility crisis of world sport and the fight against doping is intensifying once again.”

WADA now has an even greater responsibility and obligation towards clean athletes to provide prompt and transparent answers – with independent support – to the following questions:

  1. There have been repeated reports of anti-doping violations in China, including systematic violations, particularly in swimming. In view of this: How could WADA, as a global oversight organization, simply accept the Chinese investigation report, which was prepared by a ministry of the authoritarian regime, without initiating its own measures? Is this a common practice?
  2. What conclusions can be drawn from the revelations about the effectiveness of WADA and the global fight against doping, especially in closed, authoritarian regimes?
  3. How does WADA explain the inconsistent handling of suspected trimetazidine cases, e.g. in contrast to the more recent case involving the Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva?
  4. Why were the suspected cases involving the Chinese swimmers not classified as anti-doping offences?
  5. Why were no provisional measures taken or suspensions imposed?
  6. Why were no independent investigations initiated?
  7. Why was there no public and transparent communication about the events?
  8. Are there other, comparable case constellations that the public should be made aware of at this point?
  9. What conclusions can be drawn regarding the application of the reversal of strict liability following the revelations?
  10. How does WADA ensure the (independent) review of its own practices and what improvements for WADA’s functionality can be derived from it?
  11. How can (potential) conflicts of interest in WADA’s governance model, particularly with regard to the role of governments and sports federations, be minimized, (financial) dependencies reduced and WADA’s independence strengthened?
  12. How will the potentially affected, clean competitors of the suspected Chinese athletes suspected be dealt with? How can restitution be made if necessary?
  13. What measures will WADA take to restore the confidence of athletes around the world in the credibility and effectiveness of the fight against doping – especially in view of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games?

Athletes Germany has long been campaigning with partners from all over the world for far-reaching reforms to WADA. These include, among other things

  • a more independent governance structure,
  • the elimination of conflicts of interest on the Foundation Board and Executive Committee, in particular from and towards government and sports stakeholders,
  • a completely independent composition of the Executive Committee,
  • the strengthening of independent athlete representation, and
  • equal representation of athletes alongside representatives of sport and governments on the Foundation Board.

Further information:

  • Position paper by Athleten Deutschland with other athletes’ groups: “Athletes’ groups call for far-reaching changes to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)” (July 2020)
  • Position paper by Athleten Deutschland with NADOs and athletes’ groups: “Athletes’ groups and chairpersons of National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) join forces to call for further reforms of WADA” (November 2020)
  • Statement by Athleten Deutschland with other athletes’ groups: “WADA continues to refuse to implement far-reaching reforms” (November 2021)