US Athletes May Be Banned From Major Sports Events If Washington Cuts WADA Funding - Banka

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 04th September, 2020) Washington's threats to withhold funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) may result in a banning of US athletes from participating in major global sports events, including the Olympic Games, head of the sports drug watchdog Witold Banka said.

The US Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in June recommended cutting WADA funding due to failure to implement wide-ranging reform. In a report forwarded to US lawmakers, the ONDCP said that the US supports WADA with around $2.7 million annually, more than any other nation.

"The consequences of a withdrawal of WADA funding by the US could be more severe and far-reaching for American athletes," Banka told Reuters in an article published Friday.

Banka refrained from mentioning the Olympic Games outright but said that Washington's actions may lead to barring US athletes from major international events.

"Inevitably this could have serious repercussions for athletes from that country including their participation in major international sporting events," Banka went to say.

Head of the US Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, responded to Banka's statements by telling Reuters that "to illegally threaten U.S. athletes is shameful."

The funding debacle has rallied several WADA stakeholders to call for expanding the agency's powers to levy sanctions and other measures against member states for cutting funding.

The escalation in tensions between the two sides may yet have consequences on the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.