Ministers Ross and Griffin strongly back Linda Helleland’s bid for WADA Presidency

Ireland’s Sports Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin today indicated their “unequivocal and total” support for the campaign of Norway’s Linda Helleland in her bid to become the 4th President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross said “WADA may be just 20 years in existence but it is already at a critical crossroads. It has been rocked to its very foundations by the Russian doping scandal in particular. For the past few years, WADA has lunged from one crisis to another and it will inevitably continue along that path unless a reforming zeal and commitment is brought to bear from the very top of the organisation. Linda Helleland, in her capacity as Vice-President of WADA for the past two years has devoted herself to putting the voice of the clean athlete at the top of the anti-doping agenda and she has made definite progress. I am convinced that now is the time to give Linda the top role of WADA President from where she can drive and complete the governance reforms that are absolutely essential for WADA to thrive and prosper in the future. I am delighted to confirm Ireland’s strong support for her candidacy.”

Minister of State with special responsibility for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, said “Our decision to support Linda Helleland has been taken against the backdrop of a crisis in the fight against doping in sport. Linda’s campaign approach for a WADA that is fit for purpose and fit for the future is exactly what is needed at this critical juncture. We do not have that fitness at the moment and I do not see WADA becoming fit unless it has the right leadership. Linda has a proven record of reform and has shown the courage to stand up for her convictions and to stand up for the integrity of sport and the rights of clean athletes. Linda is a champion for the interests of sports fans everywhere who want to believe sportspeople are competing fairly. Ireland hopes that other countries will come to the same conclusion and give their backing to Linda Helleland”.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive and Olympic Medallist, John Treacy, said “Sport Ireland is delighted that both Minister Ross and Minister Griffin have given Ireland’s backing to Linda Helleland in her candidacy for the presidency of WADA. Linda is “athlete first” in her approach and athletes worldwide recognise that she listens to their concerns, putting the need for clean sport ahead of politics. Linda has been a strong dissenting voice on the decision to reinstate Russian compliance without meaningful sanction, and has not bowed to pressure from the International Olympic Committee. The biggest risk to the anti-doping movement is the influence of the IOC on decision making. We are confident that with Linda as president of WADA, this risk can be significantly reduced.”

Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May, said “Linda has been a leader in efforts to establish the One Voice platform, which looks to unite governments as a single united force for the good of clean sport globally. This is particularly important in order to provide a balance to the IOC influence on WADA. A strong emphasis on the interests of the athlete, a push for new standards of governance, an emphasis on the need for enhanced monitoring and compliance, and recognition of the need to strengthen anti-doping organisations makes Linda Helleland the right candidate for the presidency of WADA.”