Since the first version of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) came into effect in 2004, the anti-doping community has devoted significant efforts towards implementing the Code and Standards in rules, regulations, legislation and programs. For this, WADA has provided guidance and assistance to Signatories. This continues with respect to the 2021 Code and Standards, which came into force on 1 January 2021.
In parallel, WADA has put a growing emphasis on ensuring that Code Signatories have quality anti-doping programs in place; and, in keeping with a strong demand from stakeholders, that their compliance with the Code and Standards be monitored rigorously. To do so, in 2016, WADA initiated development of an ISO9001:2015 certified Code Compliance Monitoring Program. The Program enables WADA to thoroughly review anti-doping rules and programs, and aims to reinforce athlete and public confidence in the standard of Anti-Doping Organizations’ (ADOs) work worldwide. On 1 April 2018, the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS) entered into force, which further reinforced WADA’s Code Compliance Monitoring Program by creating a clear framework for WADA’s compliance activities and outlining the responsibilities and consequences applicable to Signatories.
WADA’s compliance activities are guided by its Compliance Strategy, endorsed by WADA’s Executive Committee in 2019. This Strategy articulates WADA’s vision that strong, Code-compliant anti-doping rules and programs applied and enforced consistently and effectively across all sports and all countries, enable clean athletes to have confidence that there is fair competition on a level playing field, and contribute to public confidence in the integrity of sport. In the long term, the objective of the Code Compliance Monitoring Program is to achieve compliance maturity by establishing compliance activities as “business as usual” for all Signatories across the world.
The implementation of the Compliance Strategy includes the publication of an annual Compliance Report, with the first edition published in 2019. The Compliance Report details risks, challenges and achievements per year using key performance indicators, with lessons learned leading into the development of an internal annual Compliance Plan to continually improve WADA’s Compliance Monitoring Program. This reporting cycle will continue to ensure stakeholders are kept aware of WADA’s Compliance Monitoring Program in a clear and transparent manner.
Program governance includes an external, independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) and an internal Compliance Taskforce (Taskforce). The CRC provides expert advice, recommendations and guidance to WADA’s Executive Committee, Foundation Board and Taskforce on individual cases and compliance activities. The Taskforce consists of an internal working group of WADA staff from different departments and offices whose activities are centralized and coordinated. If any non-conformity is identified, the Taskforce facilitates an open dialogue with the Signatory concerned and recommends corrective actions. Support and assistance are provided to help the Signatory address all non-conformities within an agreed timeframe.
The Program is made up of the following components
- Rules review: WADA has the duty to constantly monitor anti-doping rules, regulations and legislation (when applicable) drafted by Signatories to ensure that they are in line with the Code and the relevant International Standards. Assistance and guidance are regularly provided to the Signatories involved in this program. WADA has also published Model Rules [hyperlink] to assist Signatories in this task.
- Code Compliance Questionnaire (CCQ): The CCQ is a program developed by WADA, in collaboration with stakeholders, to measure compliance of Signatories with the mandatory requirements of the Code and International Standards. It asks Signatories to self-report and provide responses and data, to a series of questions related to: ADAMS, Budgeting and Reporting; Testing and Investigations; Results Management; Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE); Education; and, Data Privacy. Upon receipt of CCQs, WADA reviews them to develop Corrective Action Reports (CARs) if any non-conformities are identified. CARs are designed to assist Signatories in enhancing their anti-doping programs on a priority basis through timelines provided for the implementation of corrective actions. The Signatory’s corrective actions are reviewed by the Taskforce before further action is taken. The first CCQ was sent to International Federations (IFs) and National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) in early 2017. The next one is planned in 2022 and 2023 and will be based on the 2021 Code and Standards. Major Event Organizations (MEOs) such as the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee received a CCQ in 2019. Other MEOs will receive one in the coming years ahead of their major events.
- Audits: Due to the limitations of a self-assessment questionnaire, WADA also conducts in-person and desk (remote) audits of Signatories. The audits are conducted by trained individuals from WADA and external experts in anti-doping. A key component of an audit is the collaborative approach between the audit team and the Signatory. Where relevant, findings are identified and corrective actions proposed within adequate timelines to correct and implement. As with the CCQ, the Signatory’s corrective actions are then reviewed by the Taskforce before further follow up. More information on audits can be found here.
- Audits can be either in-person, held at the auditee’s headquarters, virtual or via an exchange of information (desk audit). WADA’s audits are technical in nature and assess the compliance of the audited Signatory with the Code and Standards. They represent a snapshot in time, which means that they focus on the compliance of the anti-doping program at the time of the audit.
- Continuous Monitoring Program: While the CCQ and audits continue to be the two main monitoring programs, WADA’s Continuous Monitoring Program complements them in bridging the gap between CCQs and audits and in aiming to ensure that progress achieved by ADOs through implementation of corrective actions resulting from the CCQ and audits are sustained. Through the Continuous Monitoring Program, WADA monitors, in particular; the entry of Doping Control Forms (DCFs) into ADAMS; TUE management; Results Management processes and decision; and testing activity, including the implementation of the Technical Document for Sport Specific Analysis (TDSSA), the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) Program, out-of-competition testing programs and Registered Testing Pools (RTPs). In the framework of the Continuous Monitoring Program, WADA may issue Mandatory Information Requests (MIRs) to Signatories if and when needed.
- Other Sources: WADA also uses other sources of information to monitor and assess the quality of anti-doping programs and their subsequent compliance with the Code and International Standards, such as: ADAMS; the Agency’s results management database; investigations; and, any other intelligence received to monitor Signatories’ compliance with the Code. In September 2020, WADA announced the creation of a Compliance Investigation Section dedicated to investigating non-compliance by Signatories.
- Ongoing WADA Support: WADA continually provides Signatories with assistance and guidance in implementing and complying with the Code and International Standards, particularly as the Compliance Monitoring Program identifies areas for improvement.
THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD FOR CODE COMPLIANCE BY SIGNATORIES (ISCCS)
On 15 November 2017, WADA’s Executive Committee approved:
- the new International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), which took effect on 1 April 2018.
- the limited number of revised World Anti-Doping Code (Code) articles related to Code compliance, which the ISCCS necessitated – also effective 1 April 2018.
- a Policy for the Initial Application of the ISCCS by WADA, which entails WADA exercising the power given to it in the ISCCS to prioritize its compliance monitoring and enforcement efforts, by focusing on certain categories of Signatories, chosen based on objective factors identified within the ISCCS.
- a Legal Opinion by Judge Jean-Paul Costa, former President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Judge Costa provided his opinion, in his capacity as consultant to WADA, on the second draft of the ISCCS. Following adoption of the ISCCS and a number of amendments in the Code, by WADA’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board in November 2017, which incorporated his comments, Judge Costa wrote the addendum contained within his opinion.
The ISCCS reinforces the Agency’s Code Compliance Monitoring Program. It was refined via a two-phase stakeholder consultation process that ran from 1 June to 14 October 2017 and was overseen by WADA’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC); during which, stakeholders were asked to comment on development of the ISCCS that outlines:
- Code Signatories’ rights and responsibilities;
- the ways WADA supports Signatories in achieving, maintaining and, where applicable, regaining Code compliance;
- and a range of graded, predictable and proportionate sanctions for cases of non-compliance by Signatories; and, a process for determining non-compliance and consequences.
With the Standard, Signatories worldwide are held to the same high standards under the Code as is expected of athletes.
The ISCCS was reviewed as part of the 2021 Code and International Standards Review Process. The 2021 version of the ISCCS, which took effect on 1 January 2021, can be found here.
The current consequences for Code non-compliance can be found in the Compliance Q&A.
Procedure to be followed when NON-CONFORMITIES are identified
The following diagram depicts the process from identification of a Signatory’s non-conformity to assertion of non-compliance under the ISCCS :
PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED AFTER NON-COMPLIANCE IS ASSERTED
The following diagram depicts the process following formal assertion of a Signatory’s non-compliance:
For more information on the full Compliance process and activities, see the latest Compliance Q&A.
Should Anti-Doping Organizations that are subject to WADA’s Compliance Monitoring Program have any comment, question or suggestion concerning the procedure outlined above and their experience with the Program, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org .