WADA sees glass half full as US withholds part of contribution

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Under pressure: US officials want WADA to reform

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Thursday welcomed a White House announcement that the United States was paying just over half of its annual contribution and said reforms were "under discussion".

On Wednesday, Richard Baum, the White House coordinator for doping in sport told a Senate committee the US was paying only $1.6 million (1.36 million euros) of its $2.9 million annual WADA dues.

Baum said the balance was contingent on a "transformation" of WADA, adding he wanted to see its executive committee become "a fully independent expert body" to avoid possible "conflicts of interest".

Baum said there had been "some good conversations within WADA about reform" but said "we'd like to see additional steps forward" before paying the balance.

WADA responded on Thursday saying it "welcomes this latest financial contribution and the acknowledgement from the US Government...of the progress that has led to the enhancement of the Agency's governance structure."

"Real progress has been made and there is still work to be done in this area," it said.

For several years, Washington, WADA's main financial contributor, has vigorously criticised the way the Montreal-based agency is run and its lack of independence.

This as turned into a tug of war since last summer when the US threatened to stop payments if the anti-doping agency did not implement governance reforms, particularly within its executive committee.

The US has been particularly critical of WADA's handling of the Russian doping scandal that came to light after the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

US officials questioned WADA's independence believing sports federation officials and International Olympic Committee members, who have a stake in its rulings, wield too much influence.