In September, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) convened a group of leaders from international sport institutions and national governments, to advise the agency as it grappled with the crisis caused by revelations of state-sponsored doping in Russia.
WADA asked DPIR alumnus Akaash Maharaj (PPE, St Edmund Hall, 1990) to join the group as an independent voice, drawing on his background as a past national equestrian athlete and as the serving CEO of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption.
Writing afterwards in the Montreal Gazette, Akaash expressed his judgement that, “too many of WADA's ostensible sport partners appear to feel that the agency has betrayed them, by unmasking the ugly truths that lie behind impeccable fictions.”
He also cautioned that the doping crisis has grave implications far beyond sport and into international affairs: “For better and for worse, sport has become a key instrument of statecraft, as much as diplomacy and aid, as much as defence and intelligence. To the extent that sport becomes captive to political corruption, it becomes an instrument to prop up tyrannies and kleptocracies, an instrument to marginalise democracy and the rule of law. It becomes a weapon against the common interests of the human race.”