London: The numerous critics attacking the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over Russia's failure to meet a deadline to hand over data from its drug-tainted Moscow laboratory are acting like a "lynch mob", said former president Dick Pound.
The 76-year-old Canadian lawyer – who was WADA's inaugural president from 1999-2007 and sits on its Foundation Board – wrote in his blog for influential sports politics website InsideTheGames that those demanding WADA be overhauled had their own personal agendas.
The end-of-year deadline was set in September, when WADA lifted a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), paving the way for Russian athletes to return to competition across all sports after a report which uncovered a state-sponsored doping programme in Russia.
However, when WADA personnel travelled to Russia in December they were unable to extract all of the promised data.
WADA said at the time its team could not complete its mission "due to an issue raised by the Russian authorities that the team's equipment to be used for the data extraction was required to be certified under Russian law".
WADA's leadership has been strongly criticised by the likes of Travis Tygart, head of USADA, and NADO (National Anti-Doping Agencies) over its decision to lift Russia's suspension before obtaining access to the information sought from its Moscow laboratory.
This information was expected to shed light on the extent of Russian cheating spanning several years and including multiple major championships
Pound, a former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee who ran unsuccessfully to replace Juan Antonio Samaranch as president in 2001, took aim at the critics with typical bluntness.
"Lynch mobs are just that – unruly gangs having a single objective, murdering someone without any due process of justice," said Pound.
"Much of the response to Russia's failure to provide access to the former Moscow Laboratory data by the deadline (31 December 2018) imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Executive Committee in September 2018 has all the elements of a lynch mob.
"Many of those making up the mob know or should know that they are out of line.
"What is their real end-game?"
'Rule of law'
Pound, who is a long-standing friend to present under-fire WADA president Craig Reedie, said those demanding Russia be immediately declared non-compliant and the meeting of the WADA Compliance Review Committee (CRC)on January 14-15 be brought forward knew this was impossible.
"This process is well-known to the entire anti-doping community" said Pound.
"It is disturbing to see otherwise responsible and sophisticated organisations urge that the process be completely ignored and incite others to adopt a similar view.
"I come from a country -- Canada -- that has a strong tradition of respect for the rule of law. That tradition is the direct opposite of mob rule."
Pound, a former top-class swimmer who competed in the 1960 Olympics, questions the motives of those seeking to destabilise WADA and warns the previous state of "anarchy" which existed before its creation could return.
"Perhaps the real agenda is that those who would destroy WADA do not want a robust and independent agency leading this fight for sporting integrity, unless they can insert themselves into positions of power," said Pound.
"Think about it…"
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Updated Date: Jan 07, 2019 18:38:14 IST