As the excitement surrounding the successful albeit controversial Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi fades, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will shortly, albeit with less fanfare, welcome the arrival of new general counsel and chief operating officer Olivier Niggli, who joins the global agency from Swiss law firm Carrard & Associés.
Currently a partner at the Lausanne-based business and sports boutique, where he specialises in sport, arbitration and commercial law, Niggli will in June join the agency he helped to set up in 1999, as it prepares to implement a new, far stricter code, which comes into effect on 1 January 2015 and will double the ban for athletes found guilty of doping from two to four years.
Having obtained a master’s degree in law from the London School of Economics, on Niggli’s return to Switzerland he qualified at Carrard & Associés where in 1999 he was involved in the development and creation of WADA, which is funded by governments globally and focusses on scientific research, education and enforcing the World Anti-Doping Code.
Niggli first joined the WADA legal team as legal director and chief financial officer in 2001, based in its Montreal headquarters, before returning to Carrard & Associés in 2011.
At WADA, Niggli will be responsible for the legal, financial and governance areas of the organisation, supporting WADA director general David Howman and working alongside new president, Sir Craig Reedie, who took up his role in December.
In the same month Reedie confirmed WADA would seek to pioneer techniques beyond blood and urine analysis to expose drugs cheats, including a revolutionary hair test, using a special £6million fund established by the Olympic Committee.
The games in Sochi were marred by six athletes testing positive for banned substances, although the testing itself, which was run by the International Olympic Committee, was not free from controversy after Nicklas Backstrom pulled out of Sweden’s ice hockey final against Canada for testing positive for a substance found in an allergy medication.