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Leeds academics map doping whistleblowing platforms for the World Anti-Doping Agency

The World Anti-Doping Agency has published the first phase of a programme of research conducted by academics from Leeds Beckett University's Carnegie School of Sport examining whistleblowing on doping in sport.

Growing recognition for the effectiveness of whistleblowing in exposing doping in sport has prompted the introduction of multiple whistleblowing platforms, including the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) ‘Speak Up’ platform and accompanying Whistleblower programme. However, research has not kept pace with these advances in policy and practice and in 2017 WADA commissioned the sporting integrity research team in the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University to conduct research with a view to informing WADA’s whistleblowing policy and practice.

As part of a five-stage research project designed to support these efforts, the research team at Leeds Beckett, led by Dr Kelsey Erickson, audited existing global doping whistleblowing platforms to map the current sport doping whistleblowing landscape. This audit was drawn together in a report that outlines specific details related to whistleblowing platforms and offers common features among the platforms and highlights emergent practice in the field.

The Whistleblowing Report is the first of its kind in the anti-doping community and provides a detailed overview of the platforms hosted by National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), International Federations (IFs) and independent whistleblowing agencies. Details offered in the report alongside each identified whistleblowing platform include such things as: how a report can be made (e.g., phone call, email, online), who will receive the report (e.g., internal/external personnel) and whether or not instructions are provided regarding what to report. These insights offer important guidance for future developments of existing whistleblowing platforms and a roadmap for the creation of new platforms.

The Report was recently launched by the WADA and can be found on their website: https://www.wada-ama.org/sites/default/files/resources/files/leeds_beckett_wada_report_on_whistleblowing_platforms_july_2018.pdf

The next stage of the project involves interviewing people who have blown the whistle on doping and international standard coaches and athletes to gather their views towards the issue of whistleblowing on doping. The data gathered from this stage will be used to inform the development of a whistleblowing questionnaire.

The project as a whole is set to be completed in February 2019 and the findings of the research will be shared with WADA in order to assist them in the development of evidence-informed whistleblowing policy and practice.


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