Week 11 (16 - 22 November 2013)
It could be said that Sir Craig Reedie has had a quiet week. Following his election as the next President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last Friday there have been no grandstanding speeches nor clichéd sound-bites about "tackling the cheats head-on". But it is fair to say that the diplomacy and tact he displayed while taking on a role with enormous challenges ahead was nothing short of masterful.
All stakeholders in the anti-doping community will have heard Reedie's message loud and clear: WADA under Reedie will foster collaboration, not confrontation, as a means to stamping out drugs in sport. In his own words, "My instincts throughout all of my sports career have been rather more consensual than combative."
But don't be fooled: with Reedie, diplomacy does not equal a soft touch. The Scot has been an outspoken advocate of tougher punishments for drug cheats, including four year bans for first-time offenders – the longest sanction that would "stand up in law", he told the BBC. But the IOC Vice President's calm and measured approach last week reflected the fact he knows nothing can be solved overnight: WADA needs a long-term, sustainable strategy.
His approach has taken him a long way, from Secretary of the Scottish Badminton Union in 1964 to being appointed to the IOC Executive Board in 2009. And now the WADA presidency, an organisation he already has a precise working knowledge of having chaired its Finance and Administration Committee since 1999.
As a result, Reedie is ready to hit the ground running and has been forthcoming in indicating that one of the main ways WADA can strengthen its anti-doping efforts is by bolstering its bank balance. Yet, as quickly as funds are raised, they are likely to be put to good use, a message which will sit very well with the sports media at large. In a recent interview with Around the Rings, Reedie said: "There isn't much point to raising money and putting it in the bank."
Messages such as this will encourage WADA stakeholders to keep an open dialogue with WADA and ensure that, even against a background of cuts in funding for national anti-doping organisations, the sports world's ongoing mission to eradicate – as Reedie puts it – "The biggest current threat to the validity of Olympic sport", continues apace.