The World Anti-Doping Agency has been fighting cheaters in the Olympics and its associated sports for years. But as it continues to find ways to keep track of the dopers and those athletes who choose to live life through chemistry, WADA finds that keeping up with those who create PED’s that are harder to trace, tougher and tougher. Funding the fight is expensive so WADA is proposing to impose a tax on rightsholders and seek contributions from sponsors to bring in revenue to help fund its testing.

In the wake of the massive Russian doping scandal from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi that 60 Minutes uncovered last week and continues to plague Olympic sports. And with the Rio Olympics fast approaching in August, WADA president Craig Reedle wrote in a blog post on the agency’s website that imposing a “tariff” on the sports broadcasters would bring in much needed cash to help keep sports clean:

These broadcasters, who serve billions of sports fans worldwide, must have an interest in clean sport just as the athletes and fans do. After all, as sport’s integrity is increasingly under threat, it is the fans – the very people that turn on the television to watch sport – which will tune out, and directly affect the broadcasters. Why not, as some have argued for before, suggest some form of tariff on the media rights holders that pay for the sports rights? To impose, for example, a minute 0.5% tariff on this USD 35 billion annual media rights figure would instantly put USD 175 million more in the anti-doping coffers. Increasing WADA’s budget five-fold — that would provide USD 175 million more per year with which to protect the clean athlete. With such extra funds, we could make a greater impact in protecting the rights of the clean athletes, and in turn uphold the integrity of sport. This significant boost to clean sport could allow for further investigations, more quality-based testing, better research, and could allow us to disseminate that all-important values-based education so that we get the message across to tomorrow’s athletes.

Reedle called on everyone who has a stake in sports including the broadcasters and sponsors to keep a level playing field and to bring in more money to WADA’s coffers. Would the world’s Olympic broadcasters like NBC here in the States, 7 Network in Australia, the Discovery-owned Eurosport or cash-strapped public networks like Canada’s CBC and the UK’s BBC be open to paying extra to fund drug testing?

It’s a question that only the networks could answer, but as they all have vested interests in long-term contracts, it’s something to chew on as dopers continue to find new ways to cheat.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.