Brexit costs sports minister Tracey Crouch seat on Wada’s foundation board while Russia may be reinstated

Brexit has cost the sports minister her seat on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s foundation board ahead of its decision whether to bring Russia in from the cold.

Wada confirmed Tracey Crouch, who only joined the agency’s ruling body at the start of last year had “voluntarily stepped down” before next month’s meeting in Seoul, South Korea, at which the Russian Anti-Doping Agency could be reinstated following the country’s doping scandal.

Crouch stepped aside on October 10 “to make way for an alternative European Union (EU) representative to serve the remaining period of her three-year term”, according to a statement issued by Wada.

The 42-year-old’s departure is the first major sporting consequence of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, which saw the country subsequently surrender its slot for the rotating EU presidency.

Wada said: “At the time of Minister Crouch’s appointment, the United Kingdom formed part of what was the then future EU Presidency Trio and it was due to this status that the UK took up one of the EU’s seats.”

Crouch has already been removed from the list of the 38 foundation board members on the agency’s website, with Wada confirming her replacement would be announced “shortly”.

Her departure leaves Britain with two board members, president Sir Craig Reedie and fellow International Olympic Committee member Adam Pengilly.

Next month’s foundation board meeting is on November 16 and is expected to decide whether Rusada has regained compliance with the Wada code.

It was declared non-compliant almost two years ago following the findings of an independent investigation that found Russia guilty of state-sponsored cheating at both London 2012 and the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph this week, Crouch refused to join UK Anti-Doping and other national anti-doping agencies (NADOs) in calling for Russia to be thrown out of next year’s Pyeongchang Games as punishment for the scandal.

Insisting the country’s participation was a matter for the IOC, she added: “Clearly, the NADOs feel very strongly about it.

“UKAD has been assisting the Russian Anti-Doping Agency and clearly doesn’t feel like it’s in the right place.”

A spokesman for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said: “Sports minister Tracey Crouch was appointed to the Wada foundation board as the UK was due to hold the EU presidency. As we are no longer taking up the presidency, it is only right that she steps away from this role, allowing countries who hold, or will soon hold the presidency, to take up the seat reserved for them.

“The UK will, of course, continue to play a leading role in the international fight against doping in sport working closely with Wada, Unesco and nations from around the world.”