WADA is pleased to announce its support of Athletes for Transparency (AFT), a pilot research study launched in France for the longitudinal follow-up of athlete biological parameters. The AFT project advances the concept of the Athlete's Passport which WADA has been developing since 2002 and whose objective would be to track biological data from athletes over a period of time in order to identify abnormal profiles in the context of the fight against doping.
Momentum for this area of research has picked up recently, in large part due to questions raised during the 2006 Olympic Winter Games surrounding “no start” suspensions of athletes by their federations following health checks that reported high haemoglobin levels. (While high haemoglobin levels may result from high altitude training, some have questioned whether the large number of athletes returning high haemoglobin levels might indicate doping.)
Since the 2006 Turin Games, WADA has convened several meetings of sports and anti-doping experts to explore and develop the concept. The consensus of these expert meetings is that the analysis of blood parameters should be considered as part of the anti-doping process itself as it can help to identify suspicious profiles. It has also been agreed that longitudinal analysis of athlete blood parameters should be registered in a database, to be used in target testing and sanctioning when abnormal values are observed.
WADA decided to support the AFT pilot because it will help to study the technical, scientific and legal feasibility of the Athlete's Passport concept, as well as provide the opportunity to test and develop the most appropriate models for decision-making in relation to abnormal profiles.