(Reuters) - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) faces a challenge to tackle cheating in sport while it has an annual budget of less than the income of many top athletes, its president Craig Reedie said.
Lack of money could equally prove a handicap for a proposed independent testing authority, said Reedie, who also expressed support for global athletics chief Sebastian Coe and said WADA was in a state of “peace not war” with Coe’s troubled sport.
“I could do with a lot more money,” Reedie said in an interview with Newsweek published on Saturday.
The Scot said governments decided their own contributions to WADA’s budget, which were then matched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“The total is not nearly enough,” he said. “WADA’s total annual budget of $30 million a year is exceeded by many athletes around the world who make more than that themselves in one year.”
Reedie said he was impressed with the support within sport and from governments for an independent testing agency as proposed by IOC president Thomas Bach but the question of funding it needed to be addressed.
“Who pays the bill is a crucial question,” he said.
“This is one of the challenges as we investigate a new independent body that would remove the conflict of interest inherent with international federations who promote and police their sports.
“An independent testing body may or may not be a priority for governments, who see that their own domestic anti-doping programs are just as important.”
Reedie said cycling was one sport that had successfully addressed the issue.
“I suspect the most successful body at the moment is the International Cycling Union which clearly had problems, not specifically in any one country. But it has now decided to separate the testing and the handling of doping matters to an independent body.”
Former WADA president Dick Pound said last month that the IAAF, governing body of world athletics, needed to be completely restructured because of “corruption embedded in the organization” under former president Lamine Diack.
Russia was banned from athletics after an independent commission for WADA revealed widespread, state-sponsored doping in the country.
Reedie said the IAAF had handled the situation “in a reasonable manner” and that WADA maintained “an ongoing relationship with the IAAF as it carries out its normal anti-doping duties”.
“WADA’s job is to protect clean athletes, so it’s a case of peace not war,” he added.
Asked if he had faith in Coe, who was elected last August, Reedie said: “On a personal basis, I have worked with Sebastian Coe for many years, particularly in the build-up to the successful delivery of the London Olympic Games, and I think he has the wide range of skills which will be necessary to achieve the transformation that Dick Pound talked about.”
Writing by Clare Fallon; editing by Ed Osmond