Wada is cleared of bullying after allegations made by Olympian Beckie Scott

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Wada is cleared of bullying after allegations made by Olympian Beckie Scott
Wada officials ‘disrespected’ me – Scott tells BBC sports editor Dan Roan

The World Anti-Doping Agency has been cleared of bullying allegations made by Olympic gold medallist Beckie Scott.

An independent review was launched after Scott, chair of the athletes committee, claimed she was “treated with disrespect” by Wada members.

The report described an exchange between Scott and some executive board members as “disrespectful”, but ruled out harassment.

Scott and ex-Olympic champion Ed Moses pulled out of the review in April.

Background

In October 2018, Canadian Scott told BBC Sport some of the organisation’s most senior officials tried to “bully and belittle” her after she opposed the reinstatement of Russia to international competition following a state-sponsored doping scandal.

Wada denied the claims and said there had merely been “heated discussion”, although American Moses – who won gold in the 400m hurdles at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics – said he had also experienced “the marginalisation, lack of respect and denigrating conduct which Beckie described”.

An initial investigation concluded the alleged bullying had not taken place, but Wada then agreed to begin a second, more detailed phase of its independent review.

Wada reinstated Russia’s anti-doping agency (Rusada) in September 2018 following a three-year ban over state-sponsored doping.

Scott, a gold medallist in the 2002 Winter Olympics in cross-country skiing, resigned from Wada’s compliance review committee following the decision to approve Rusada’s reinstatement.

She had said she faced “upsetting” comments by some of the members representing the Olympic movement when she opposed the move.

What the report says

The investigation by the law firm Covington and Burling LLP looked into more than 1,000 documents and interviewed 32 witnesses, including 29 who attended the executive board meeting in the Seychelles.

Wada’s 58-page report was released on Wednesday, along with an audio recording of that meeting.

The report revealed it was International Olympic Committee and Wada executive board members Francesco Ricci Bitti and Patrick Baumann who Scott claimed bullied her.

“Our report concludes that no-one at the 20 September executive committee meeting bullied or harassed Ms Scott regarding her objection to the conditional reinstatement of Rusada, or even responded directly to it,” the ruling stated.

“While Ricci Bitti’s response to that report reasonably could be viewed as aggressive or disrespectful, his behaviour did not rise to the level of bullying or harassment.”

Scott and Moses, who is chair of Wada’s education committee, both withdrew from the independent review, which their lawyer described as a “kangaroo court”.

On Thursday, the pair said they were “extremely disappointed” by the ruling but would continue in their Wada roles to “fulfil their mandate to work on behalf of athletes and their right to clean, fair, doping-free sport”.

Their lawyer Ben Chew said: “Wada is supposed to be committed to the athletes and fair play. Yet when Dr Moses and Ms Scott showed the courage to step forward and try to speak their truth in order to achieve reform, transparency and accountability, Wada made it impracticable.”

Wada said it was satisfied that the investigation was conducted independently and following international best practices.

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