April 24, 2006
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WADA Welcomes CAS Advisory Opinion on FIFA Compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code

Montreal, 24 April 2006 – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomed with satisfaction the advisory opinion published today by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the question of non-compliance of FIFA anti-doping rules with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) – the document harmonizing anti-doping regulations in all sports and all countries.

“This independent opinion confirms that FIFA anti-doping rules do not comply with the World Anti-Doping Code,” said WADA Chairman Richard W. Pound. “These rules differ with the Code in several key areas, including sanctions. We will now wait to see whether FIFA wishes our assistance in making sure that their rules are amended in time for their World Cup in Germany this summer and the commencement of the Olympic qualifying tournament.”

In its opinion, the CAS panel noted that the Code is flexible enough and guarantees the proportionality of sanctions with the degree of fault, and found that the two-year sanction for a first serious doping offence is not excessive and does not violate mandatory Swiss law (as asserted by Swiss-based FIFA).

The panel also indicated that it shares the view of WADA and of most of the signatories to the Code (more than 580 sports organizations to date) that only the two-year ineligibility period constitutes a credible deterrent against doping. The Panel noted that the minimum ineligibility period of six months, as stated in the FIFA rules, does not serve as a deterrent against the use of prohibited substances or methods, particularly since this minimum period is not explicitly linked to “no significant fault or negligence” by the athlete. The Code states that if an athlete can establish that he or she bears no significant fault or negligence, then the period of ineligibility may be reduced by a maximum of one year.

In addition, the CAS panel found that FIFA’s rules differ materially from the Code in several other key areas, demonstrating that this federation has not yet fully implemented the Code:

  • The absence in the FIFA Rules of a clause allowing complete elimination of the suspension in case of “no fault or negligence”.

  • The option of a probationary sanction under the FIFA Rules, where there is no such option under the Code.
  • The absence of a right for WADA to review the granting or denial of a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) by FIFA.
  • The absence of an appropriate channel of information allowing WADA to be advised of anti-doping decisions issued by FIFA bodies as a condition to exercise its right of appeal to CAS; and the impossibility for WADA to appeal to CAS ineligibility sanctions of less than three months pronounced by FIFA, meaning that the most lenient decisions cannot be appealed by WADA.

“We will now report on this decision and any discussions we may have with FIFA in the interim to our stakeholders, including Governments and the International Olympic Committee,” said WADA Chairman Richard W. Pound. “The Olympic Charter provides that no sport can be included or remain in the program of the Olympic Games if it does not comply with the World Anti-Doping Code.”

The CAS advisory opinion is available on CAS’ (www.tas-cas.org) and WADA’s Web sites (www.wada-ama.org). A recording of the press conference call held today by WADA Chairman Richard W. Pound will also be posted on the Agency’s Web site.

Contact for the media:

Frédéric Donzé, WADA Media Relations Manager
Phone : + 1-514-904-8820.
E-mail : frederic.donze@wada-ama.org

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the international independent organization created in 1999 to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against doping in sport in all its forms. The Agency is composed and funded equally by the sports movement and governments of the world. Its key activities include scientific research, education, out-of-competition testing, development of anti-doping capacities and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code – the first document harmonizing regulations regarding anti-doping in all sports and all countries.