The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is one step closer to staying in Montreal after a weekend of negotiations in Paris.
Quebec International Relations Minister Christine St-Pierre made the announcement on social media early Sunday.
“We’re convinced that Montreal remains the ideal place for the agency and I think that people understand that this morning,” St-Pierre told Radio-Canada.
In a bid to ensure the agency’s headquarters remain in Montreal, St-Pierre and Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau were part of a delegation meeting with European officials in Paris.
WADA was committed to staying in the city until at least 2021. There was speculation, however, that at that point the office could move to Europe, closer to the International Olympic Committee, which is based in Switzerland.
One of the delegation’s goals was to emphasize to the executive committee the considerable costs of moving WADA, as well as the fact that maintaining a distance from the IOC ensures WADA’s independence.
“We were confident when we arrived,” said St-Pierre. “We also had allies. Some countries wanted the agency to remain in Montreal. We did our work with those representatives.”
The agency’s executive committee will now hammer out the next deal with federal and Quebec government officials, which means WADA could remain in Montreal until at least 2031.
“We’re very open to negotiations,” said St-Pierre.
“Let’s see how we can enhance our offer and we have until the end of November to do it.”
The final decision will be made in November in Seoul.
The agency was established in Montreal in 1999 with the help of Dick Pound, a former Canadian Olympic swimmer and WADA’s first president.
The stated goal of the organization is to “preserve the integrity of sport and uphold the values of fair play.” It has a staff of 74 in Montreal and 88 worldwide.