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WADA president hits back at U.S. criticism over Russia reinstatement

LONDON -- World Anti-Doping Association president Sir Craig Reedie hit back at criticism from the United States by telling their anti-doping organisation to focus on their own shortcomings.

Reedie spoke at a symposium in London Thursday off the back of fierce criticism from a series of national anti-doping organisations and athletes following WADA's decision to reinstate Russia's testing body (RUSADA), despite not having met all 31 of the necessary criteria.

An emergency anti-doping meeting was held at the White House on Wednesday, hosted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the United States anti-doping agency (USADA), where there were calls for WADA's governance to be overhauled and for it to pay more attention to athletes' voices.

"We are united in calling for the World Anti-Doping Agency to provide stronger leadership on behalf of clean competition," was ONDCP deputy director James Carroll's message while USADA CEO Travis Tygart called it a "tipping point", with the meeting coming just two days after leaders of 18 anti-doping organisations called for WADA reform in Paris on Monday.

But Reedie was resolute in his response to Tygart's criticism.

"We have had comment, some of it critical and hostile, from Travis for two-and-a-half, three years now," Reedie said.

"We live in a free society. He's entitled to say what he says. In a very complex political situation worldwide at the moment, it seems to me this follows a formula that the only solution to anybody's problems are the solutions that come from the United States.

"I don't believe that's accurate, or correct.

"International sport is subject to international rules and regulations. We play our part as a regulator. It's not about one country saying we're right."

Reedie continued: "I would like to think that at some future date, he might address USADA's efforts to looking at the large area of American sport which is not code-compliant and events which aren't code-compliant. And I think that would be a greater contribution to clean sport in the world than continually complaining about what WADA does."

And following ex-WADA chief David Howman's comments that WADA's decision to reinstate RUSADA was down to "money over principle", Reedie responded: "At the time when I heard David's comments, I said 'he should know better'."

Callum Skinner, the British cyclist, was also in attendance at the White House meeting and said WADA had put "autocracy over accountability and politics over principle".

"We have a little bit of an athlete problem as there are two opinions between athletes," Reedie responded.

"One is represented perhaps by Callum and people who are on one athlete committee, and another who serve on the IOC athletes committee. We are intensely keen on enhanced athletic representation but we have to deal with all athletes.

"It's important now that the Callum Skinners of this world and the other athletes get together and decide how they would like to be represented and once they've done that then we will meet as many of these suggestions as we can."

Reedie also vowed to continue leading WADA until the end of his term in November 2019 amid the criticism over his leadership.

He also refused to be drawn on ex-Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott's allegations that senior WADA officials tried to bully her after she opposed the decision to reinstate Russia.

Scott remains as chair of WADA's athlete committee but resigned from its compliance review committee. Reedie says an investigation is ongoing into Scott's comments and that he would talk directly with her before commenting publicly.