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Brussels, 11 July 2001

Funding of the World Anti-Doping Agency

Mrs Viviane Reding, Member of the Commission with responsibility for sport, today reported back to the Commission on the feasibility of the Community contributing to the operational budget of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The Commission has listed doping in sport as one of its priorities for action and is prepared to support WADA projects which fall within the Community's sphere of competence. However, Mrs Reding feels that the legal and political conditions for the time being rule out Community participation in the WADA's operational budget. She hopes to start negotiations with the WADA so that the right conditions can be put in place as soon as possible. In the meantime, the countries of Europe will need to reach agreement on the breakdown of Europe's contribution to the WADA's operational budget as from 2002.

In its conclusions of 4 December 2000, the Council envisaged making a Community contribution to the WADA's operational budget as from 2002. The Nice European Council welcomed these conclusions and marked its agreement to intensify European cooperation in the fight against doping. The Commission shares the Member States' willingness to make a financial contribution to the WADA and is ready to submit a proposal accordingly on the basis of Article 152 of the EC Treaty (public health). A proposal nevertheless presupposes that certain conditions safeguarding Community interests, particularly the prerogatives of the budgetary authority, be met.

These conditions are:

  • that Europe cannot find itself in a position whereby the WADA's Foundation Board (comprising an equal number of representatives of the sports world and representatives of the member states of the WADA) could impose upon it budgetary constraints without the agreement of the Community budgetary authority; the Community must also be in a position to permanently monitor the use to which its contribution is put;

  • that the financial input from Europe not be disproportionate to its decision-making weight within the WADA.

The Commission feels that these conditions have not been met as things currently stand. Europe is indeed expected to put up 47.5% of government funding for the WADA, while America and Asia, with the same number of representatives as Europe on the Foundation Board, would provide 29% and 20.5% respectively of the government funding of the budget. Furthermore, the WADA has been unable to provide an accurate budget forecast for the five years ahead and, under the current statutes of the Agency (the annual budget is adopted by majority vote), there is a risk that the Foundation Board could impose upon the Community fresh budgetary constraints by placing the European representatives in a minority.

Mrs Reding stated that given this situation, and although Europe is willing to show greater solidarity than the other continents and thus underpin its role as leader in the fight against doping, respect for the budgetary authority and her concern for Community interests prompt her not to ask the Commission to put forward a funding proposal. She stressed that this in no way calls into question the Commission's resolve to make a determined effort to stem doping in sport and to take part in the work of the WADA. Accordingly the Community could this year support three WADA pilot actions to an amount of EUR 2.5 million.

The Commission will therefore continue to fund pilot projects in this area, including cooperation with the WADA, and is contemplating a Community anti-doping programme.

In addition, Mrs Reding is determined to undertake negotiations with the WADA so that the conditions for Community participation in the WADA's operational budget can be met as quickly as possible. The Foundation Board meeting to be held in Tallinn on 21 August next and the meeting of the sports ministers of the 15 EU Member States on 12 November next (the last sports ministers' meeting was held on 6 November 2000 under the French Presidency) will be important dates in stating the common resolve of the Europeans to take part on a legally solid and politically acceptable basis in the WADA. For 2002 the Commission will continue to provide substantial budgetary support for WADA projects in areas falling within Community competence, e.g. research, standardisation and health education.

The WADA, created in November 1999 with the active support of the Commission, is provisionally a foundation under Swiss law, its budget being temporarily provided by the International Olympic Committee. Its provisional seat is at Lausanne. Europeans hold four of the 18 government seats in the Foundation Board (18 seats for the sports world and 18 seats for the member states of the WADA). Two of the four European seats belong to the Council of Europe and two to the European Union. In its conclusions of 4 December 2000, the Council decided that the European Community would be represented by the President-in-Office of the Council and one Member of the Commission. This provision should apply as from the next Foundation Board meeting to be held in Tallinn on 21 August next. The WADA's provisional budget for 2002 is approximately USD 17 million.

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