Polish sports minister to run for WADA chair

Polish Minister of Sport and Tourism Witold Bańka will be the European candidate for head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Council of Europe decided on Wednesday in Strasbourg.

The vote for the new WADA head will take place at the organisation's November congress in Katowice, southern Poland. If elected, Bańka will replace Craig Reedie, who headed the body as a representative of the Olympic movement.

"Europe has chosen me as its official candidate for head of the World Anti-Doping agency. This is a great honour!," Bańka wrote on Twitter after his candidacy was announced.

Listing his priorities as WADA head, Bańka said he wanted to create a special fund to aid poorer countries in their anti-doping undertakings, raise the number of accredited anti-doping laboratories and work towards improving WADA's image, tarnished by numerous doping scandals in recent years.

WADA was founded in November 1999 as an independent foundation under the International Olympic Committee tasked with combating illegal doping in sport. Two years later, the organisation moved from its initial seat in Switzerland to Canada. Among others, WADA publishes lists of banned substances and issues accreditation to anti-doping research centres.