The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently called its “Speak Up!” program to report doping an “overwhelming” success. The initiative gives individuals a secure platform to report athletes who use anabolic steroids and/or commit other anti-doping rules violations. It is also pejoratively referred to as the WADA Snitch Hotline by many people.
WADA Director of Intelligence and Investigations Gunter Younger has been surprised by the number of informants willing to turn in their fellow athletes. He expected only a few cases to come of it but ended it with 400.
“More and more whistleblowers come and they say, ‘Now we are happy that we have someone that we can talk to,’” Younger said. “I thought perhaps a few, but we have so many. We have 400 cases registered.”
— WADA (@wada_ama) March 9, 2017
Of course, WADA has done its best to make it as easy as possible to snitch on others without being exposed. It has created a secure and encrypted digital platform in which potential informants can report suspected doping violations on the WADA website. WADA has also released secure iPhone and Android smartphone applications.
If the information provided is credible and potentially useful, WADA will consider granting “whistleblower status” to the informant. Informants granted whistleblower status are promised complete confidentiality and protection of identity, external legal assistance and protection against retaliation. One of the most interesting incentives provided to whistleblowers is the possibility that they will receive a cash payment in exchange for the information they provide.
“Upon her/his specific request, WADA may decide to grant a financial reward to a Whistleblower in appreciation of his/her support in aiding the fight against doping in sport,” according to WADA. “Such a request will only be considered upon conclusion of any investigation or disciplinary, criminal, professional or other proceedings in relation to an alleged Misconduct.”
WADA completely understands how unpopular snitches are in sports and society. WADA will not only protect the anonymity of the snitches but will keep all cash payments to snitches strictly secret.
But WADA is not just handing out money willy-nilly to snitches. The information provided must either lead to an athlete suspension, criminal prosecution or otherwise provide “extraordinary assistance to the fight against doping in sport”.
If an athlete who tests positive for steroids rats out another person, he or she could see up to several years knocked off their period of ineligibility.
If anyone else rats out another person, he or should could potentially see cash in the bank when all is said and done.
WADA has fully embraced the snitching model in its fight against doping. And it is paying off bigtime if WADA I&I Director Younger is to be believed.