WADA Executive Committee and Foundation Board Advance Closer to Final Revision of the World Anti-Doping Code
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) today made significant strides in strengthening the global fight against doping in sport during the Agency’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board meetings held in Montreal.
The meetings focused chiefly on the proposed amendments to the World Anti-Doping Code (Code)—the core document adopted in 2003 by the Sport Movement and Governments of the world as the framework for the global harmonized fight against doping in sport—in the context of the Code Review & Consultation with stakeholders which commenced in early 2006, includes three stages of consultation and will conclude at the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport to take place in Madrid, Spain, on 15-17 November 2007.
“The Code represents a unique and unprecedented triumph of Sport and Government joining forces to address a critical problem threatening public health and the integrity of sport,” said WADA President Richard W. Pound. “Now, with several years of practical implementation and experience, we are working with stakeholders in the enhancement of its provisions for an even more robust anti-doping system worldwide. Our goal is a system that is both firm and fair.”
The Executive Committee and Foundation Board provided their feedback on the second working draft revision of the Code and certain provisions that would help to strengthen the anti-doping fight—for example, the call to increase sanctions in doping cases involving certain “aggravating circumstances” such as being part of a larger doping scheme or the athlete having used multiple prohibited substances.
This feedback will be incorporated into the next draft to be sent to stakeholders in June 2007, which will begin the third and final consultation phase. The final draft Code will be presented to the Foundation Board for approval at its meeting in November in Madrid.
Government Role in the Fight Against Doping
The importance of governments’ active engagement in anti-doping was also highlighted during the meetings.
“There is a universal recognition among governments now that doping is a serious threat to public health,” said Pound. “This is demonstrated by a range of government actions, including the remarkably swift ratification of the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport, the timely fulfillment of contribution commitments to WADA, and the expanding engagement of countries in anti-doping either through national or regional programs, among other important activities.”
The UNESCO Convention, the tool by which countries align domestic policies with the Code, is the quickest UNESCO treaty ever to be drafted and the quickest to be ratified. It came into force on February 1, 2007, and currently 52 governments have completed formal ratification of the treaty.
As of May 12, 2007, governments have fulfilled more than 88 percent of 2007 contributions, which is 10 percent above the contributions received by the same date in 2006.
WADA’s Anti-Doping Program Development has also built significant momentum in the establishment of Regional Anti-Doping Organizations (RADO) in areas of the world where there previously existed limited or no anti-doping activities. To date, 104 countries across 11 regions have joined in the fight against doping through WADA’s RADO development program, which is well on track to achieving the goal of worldwide engagement in the fight against doping in sport by 2010.
A report was given on the need to supplement the traditional strategies of research, testing and education, with an even more comprehensive and effective approach to combat doping.
WADA is looking at ways to intensify efforts targeting those who facilitate and encourage doping (the entourage and well-organized doping schemes) through investigatory work and coordination with sport organizations and with multiple government agencies such as customs, drug and law enforcement. WADA reported that it recently led two international symposia on Investigations involving the participation of national anti-doping organizations, the International Olympic Committee, International Federations, and government agencies. As a result, a Working Group has been formed to develop model protocols to facilitate cooperation and the sharing of information.
“We want to get to a position where an investigatory body, operating under its national laws, can work alongside and cooperate with sports authorities so that sports can proceed with the sports sanctions in a timely manner while government authorities enforce laws relating to the supply and manufacture of doping substances,” said WADA Director General David Howman.
It was also stressed that, in accordance with their UNESCO Convention obligations, governments must ensure that laws against the manufacture and distribution of doping substances are in place, the penalties for breaking these laws are sufficiently stringent and that the laws are enforced as such.
WADA received a report on the status of the Operation Puerto case—the Spanish authorities’ investigation into doping that followed seizure of prohibited substances and other material by the Spanish police in May 2006. On May 7, 2007, WADA was accepted as party to the proceedings and will now be given access to the files with the ability to intervene in the case. WADA will review the documents for elements which may be used for sports disciplinary purposes and will work with UCI. WADA also is filing an appeal against the decision of the Spanish judge to suspend the proceedings.
WADA also reviewed progress in another new anti-doping strategy—“Athlete’s Passport”—for the tracking biological data from athletes over a period of time in order to identify abnormal profiles and evidence of doping.
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