Daniel Read

Managing the legitimacy of the World Anti-Doping Agency

Daniel Read

Daniel is a PhD student focusing on the challenges of implementing and regulating anti-doping policy in professional sport. He also has wider research interests in sport policy, integrity and commercialization.

Daniel's interest in anti-doping stems from his time spent playing rugby in different contexts as well as his passion for sport as a fan and coach.
He obtained his Bachelor's in Sport Science and Physiology from the University of Leeds in 2014, and received his MRes in Sport Psychology from York St John University in 2015. 

PhD research description

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) aims to create 'a world where all athletes can compete in a doping-free sporting environment’ via its primary purpose of ‘harmonizing anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries’. Yet the integrity of sport continues to be tainted by cases of systematic doping. The recent evidence that has emerged of a Russian systematic doping programme involving over 1000 summer and winter Olympic athletes epitomises the struggle WADA has faced in harmonising the World Anti-Doping Code between signatories. This leads to one of Daniel's research questions: why after 18 years since the creation of WADA do we still continue to see systematic doping in sport?
One reoccurring concept in the literature examining the compliance challenges WADA faces is legitimacy. In Houlihan’s (2009) discussion of international regime development, he proposes that regimes can develop from global hegemonic relationships or moral beliefs determined by cultural factors. He proposes that WADA may be an example of a regime developed from the powerful moral belief in ‘the spirit of sport’ (p61). Building on this, the two modes of regime development might not be mutually exclusive, the importance of the ‘spirit of sport’ may be an Anglo-Christian cultural value imposed through hegemonic relationships in sport (Tamburrini, 2006). Houlihan (2009) then draws from policy transfer theory to suggest that countries and sport organisations may engage with anti-doping policy as the discourse around the issue has gained powerful public and media support. Through campaigning WADA has legitimated anti-doping in the public eye (Toohey & Beaton , 2017), as such it has become an issue organisations must at least appear to be concerned with to appear legitimate even if there culture values favour national achievement or commercial gain (Girginov, 2006).

PhD supervisors

Daniel studies for his PhD within the Institute for Sport Business under the supervision of Professor James Skinner, Dr Daniel Lock (external), and Professor Barrie Houlihan (Loughborough campus).

Awards, grants or scholarships received

Daniel received a PhD Studentship from the Institute for Sport Business.

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