By Steve Keating
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Reuters) – The World Anti-Doping Agency’s crucial two-day meeting aimed at mapping out a future plan for the global war on drugs began on Tuesday under a veil of secrecy.
WADA’s hierarchy will spend much of the gathering at the posh Colorado resort assessing the findings of its independent report into allegations of widespread doping, corruption and collusion in Russian athletics.
Described by one official as a defining moment for the global anti-doping agency, the meeting could mark the start of a dramatic restructuring of WADA and their role in the war against performance-enhancing drugs in sport.
But as anti-doping crusaders gathered, media were denied access into the building while those already inside were asked to leave the property.
Media will be allowed to attend the agency’s foundation board meeting on Wednesday and have access to members but TV crews and reporters were kept at arm’s length when the powerful executive committee met on Tuesday.
The executive committee will spend the day going through a packed agenda that includes the official decertification of the Moscow lab which processed blood and urine samples from Russian athletes on behalf of the athletics federation.
The independent commission report, led by former WADA chief Dick Pound, alleged that the lab destroyed samples despite being told by WADA to preserve them, and that staff took bribes from athletes or their coaches in exchange for covering up positive tests.
The executive committee will take their recommendations to the foundation board on Wednesday for approval.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)