OSLO: Battle has been joined over the succession as president of the World Anti-Doping Agency to Sir Craig Reedie, who retires next year.

The Norwegian government has nominated Children and Equalities Minister Linda Helleland as a candidate. She is already a vice-president of WADA but her outspoken style has earned her enemies in the Olympic sphere.

This is significant because the International Olympic Committee provides half of WADA’s funds. The other half comes from governments whose ‘turn’ it is to appoint the next president.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway and her Government have announced their nomination of Linda Helleland, the Norwegian Minister of Children and Equality, to succeed Sir Craig Reedie as President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Helleland is considered, according to Norwegian sources, as “an athlete-centred, reformist candidate who would seek to champion the interests of athletes and provide more athlete representation on WADA’s boards.”

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said her Government was providing its “full support” to the 41-year-old Helleland, who has promised to make WADA governance reform a central feature of her presidency platform.

Solberg said: “During her two years as vice-president of WADA, Minister Helleland has never shied away from the difficult decisions, and has remained steadfast to her principles while championing an ‘athlete first’ vision for clean sport.

“Minister Helleland has consistently demonstrated her full and unswerving determination to protect the global athlete community from doping.

“Knowing Linda well, I know she is firmly committed to strengthening WADA as the global anti-doping regulator and to restoring the confidence of athletes and sports fans in fair and honest sport.

“My cabinet and I have no hesitation in offering Linda our full support to lead the World Anti-Doping Agency as we enter a new age for anti-doping.”