The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced today that its Foundation Board has selected Madrid (Spain) to host the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport in November 2007.
“The Third World Conference will be an important opportunity to take stock of how far the fight against doping has come and to identify its next critical tasks,” said WADA Chairman Richard W. Pound following a two-day meeting of WADA’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board. “We look forward to working with the city of Madrid to prepare and host the event, and we thank all three bid cities for their interest and the quality of their submissions.”
WADA also received formal bids from Bangkok (Thailand) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
“We want to measure the progress of the Sport Movement’s implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and Governments’ implementation of the International Convention against Doping in Sport, and at the same time see what more can be done to combat doping in sports,” said Pound.
The First World Conference, held in Lausanne (Switzerland) in February 1999, conceived of the idea of an independent international agency to be responsible for coordinating and monitoring the fight against doping in sport and led to the birth of WADA in November 1999. At the Second World Conference, held in Copenhagen (Denmark) in 2003, the final draft of the Code, the document harmonizing anti-doping rules in all sports and all regions of the world, was unanimously approved by representatives from governments and the sports movement.
Brian Mikkelsen, minister of sport for Denmark, was unanimously re-elected to the position of vice-chair to serve through the end of 2006.
“I am happy to be able to continue as the Vice-Chairman of WADA,” Mikkelsen said. “It is challenging to fight doping in sports but at the same time it’s satisfactory to contribute to the goal of having clean athletes competing in clean sports. It must be the best athlete who wins, not the athlete who uses the most drugs. I look forward to continuing my splendid cooperation with WADA’s chairman and management through 2006.”
“We are pleased that Brian Mikkelsen will serve again as Vice-Chair,” Pound said. “Over the past several years, Brian has demonstrated his commitment to WADA in many ways, most notably as Vice-Chair in 2005, and Denmark has always been a stalwart supporter of the anti-doping fight.”
Executive Committee & Board Membership for 2006
The Foundation Board unanimously renewed the membership of WADA’s Executive Committee for the 2006 calendar year.
With regard to Foundation Board membership changes, Korea will retire its seat and will be replaced by Jordan as the Asia representative. Finland will also join the Foundation Board as part of the troika system from European governments.
The Foundation Board approved US$ 23.8 million for WADA’s 2006 budget, representing a minor increase of three percent over the 2005 budget.
The Board was updated on the status of WADA’s funding. The Agency has now received nearly 80 percent of its 2005 budget. In addition, the United States reported that, with the appropriation of its financial commitment to WADA for both 2005 and 2006, it will be able to advance the timing of its contribution to the Agency. Upon receipt of these funds, WADA will have received 95 percent of its 2005 budget.
“The strong backing of our stakeholders, demonstrated by their timely fulfillment of financial commitments, fuels the programs essential to a comprehensive and harmonized anti-doping program,” said Pound.
“We are especially pleased by the actions undertaken in the U.S. by the White House and Congress to move up the date of its contribution,” he continued. “It is a significant commitment that, now with its timely delivery, will allow the Agency to allocate resources with greater confidence to critical programs such as anti-doping research and education.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), on behalf of the Olympic Movement, matches dollar for dollar contributions made by governments.
Board members also received information about governments’ progress toward ratification of the International Convention against Doping in Sport (Convention) that was unanimously adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its plenary session in Paris on 19 October 2005.
“On behalf of the Governments all over the world, I am very proud that we succeeded in adopting the Convention in October,” said Mikkelsen. “This is a great achievement taking into account that the process of formulating and adopting the convention has taken only two years.”
Until now, many governments could not be legally bound by a non-governmental document such as the Code. Governments accordingly drafted the International Convention under the auspices of UNESCO, enabling them to align their domestic legislation with the Code and thereby harmonizing the sport and public legislation in the fight against doping in sport. The Convention is now available for UNESCO member states to ratify according to their respective constitutional jurisdictions. Under UNESCO procedures for this Convention, thirty countries must ratify the Convention prior to 31 December 2005, in order for it to become effective in time for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.
“While speedy ratification may be difficult for some because of constitutional requirements, I urge that as many countries as possible ratify the Convention now so that it can be implemented in time for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games,” said Mikkelsen. “A number of countries will certainly meet that deadline, including Denmark.”
The subject of FIFA’s (football) disciplinary rules and their compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) was discussed by the Board.
In May 2005, WADA’s Executive Committee determined that although FIFA had adopted the Code, its internal disciplinary rules did not fully comply. Wishing to work in good faith with FIFA to implement the changes, the Executive Committee allowed FIFA until September to amend its rules. However in September, the Executive Committee learned that the critical changes necessary for compliance were not fully made. Recognizing the potential far-reaching implications of an official declaration of non-compliance, the Executive Committee decided at that time to suspend definitive pronouncement of non-compliance to allow for an advisory opinion to be obtained from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“We have filed our request for an opinion with CAS, and we will wait until we have received a formal opinion,” said Pound. “WADA has been working in good faith, dealing with FIFA in the most open and transparent manner by sharing with them the process adopted and the information submitted to CAS, in addition to inviting them to participate. To our great surprise and considerable disappointment, we learned indirectly this week that FIFA has submitted its own question to CAS and that they refuse to share with WADA any information whatsoever about this submission. It is an unfortunate course of conduct for FIFA.”
“We want to make sure that we do the right thing because, if we are forced to confirm the declaration of non-compliance, this will have serious consequences for football and governments relating to such decisions such as funding, the organization of events, Olympic participation, the use of facilities, and so on,” continued Pound. “As it stands, our request is before CAS.”
Board members urged that the matter be considered by CAS as soon as possible, and that the panel considering the questions have no connection with football so that its decision is perceived to be entirely unbiased and independent.
WADA will commit $100,000 to projects in Social Behavioural Research, a new program introduced this year to look at the motivation behind the use of doping in sport.
“Understanding the root causes of doping in sport will enable the Agency and our partners to develop effective anti-doping education programs,” said WADA Director General David Howman. “Combined with the record $6.5 million already committed this year to scientific research, our social research program ensures a comprehensive approach to doping-free sport.”
WADA received 12 research applications, and the Executive Committee approved the funding of five.
The Board also learned of developments relating to professional league adoption and implementation of the Code.
“We would like to congratulate the professional leagues that have recently adopted the Code, including the Australian Football League and the Women’s Tennis Association,” said Howman. “This illustrates the support for harmonization of anti-doping policy worldwide.”
As for professional leagues in the United States, WADA recognized that while some progress had been made, the new baseball policy and the current policies of the other professional leagues fall well short of the international consensus established in the Code.
WADA’s Athlete Committee
Russian Minister of Sport Viacheslav Fetisov, who serves on WADA’s Foundation Board and is Chairman of WADA’s Athlete Committee, reported that during its meeting on 7 November 2005, the WADA Athlete Committee expressed its support of strong sanctions for athletes that dope. The Committee, made up of 12 retired and current elite-level athletes, acknowledged the harmonization achieved to date in the global fight against doping in sport, called upon all Sports and Governments to fully implement the two-year sanction for a first doping offence as a bare minimum, and urged consideration of increased penalties for cheaters.
2006 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games
WADA updated Board members on the Agency’s role in the Torino Games, which involves overseeing doping controls through its Independent Observers program and providing on-side anti-doping education to athletes through the Outreach program.
The Board was updated on ADAMS (Anti-Doping Administration & Management System), the web-based database management system developed by WADA to coordinate anti-doping activities worldwide under the Code. ADAMS was officially launched by WADA on 17 November 2005.
“The launch of ADAMS is a significant step forward for global anti-doping efforts,” said Howman. “ADAMS simplifies the process for everyone, making us even more efficient at catching the cheaters and levelling the playing field for clean athletes around the globe.”
With ADAMS in place, all parties involved in anti-doping activities are now able to coordinate information within one secure system, from athletes providing whereabouts information, to anti-doping organizations (ADO) ordering tests, to laboratories reporting results, to ADOs managing results.
The Board received information about WADA’s out-of-competition testing (OOCT) program, which is on track to meet the 2005 target of at least 3,000 tests. Targeting areas where no one else is testing, for example in countries having no current anti-doping program, the OOCT program works to level the playing field for athletes worldwide.
Similarly, WADA reported that its Regional Anti-Doping Development program is advancing rapidly, coordinating the creation of regional anti-doping organizations (RADOs) that will assume responsibility for testing, education, and other anti-doping activities in under-served regions of the world, combining the resources of several countries. The first RADO, established in Oceania, is up and running. Others are underway in Zone V of Africa, the Caribbean, Central America and the Gulf States. By the close of 2006, WADA plans to engage 70 countries in the development of RADOs in 10 regions.