9 May 2008
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Clarification on Inaccurate Comments about Athlete Whereabouts Information

Following public comments by representatives from the Professional Players' Federation (PPF - the body representing the English Professional Footballers’ Association and the Professional Cricketers’ Association), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) would like to clarify the following points.

These statements are regrettably based on inaccurate information. During the consultation process for the revision of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and the International Standard for Testing (IST), which aims at ensuring a harmonized approach for anti-doping organizations to plan effective testing, all WADA stakeholders were urged to provide WADA with their feedback to build on the experience gained by WADA and its stakeholders in the application of the Code and the IST since their coming into force in January 2004 and to improve anti-doping protocols and processes. The IST review was fully open and transparent, and included four phases of consultation (spanning two years) and the circulation of several revised IST drafts to stakeholders.

WADA was pleased to read that the PPF had taken the time to peruse the IST. Regrettably, however, the document that was commented on by the group and raised within the media is not the document which is presently to be considered by the WADA Executive Committee. WADA ensures that it hears the voices of all, and makes every effort to receive information, submissions, and other matters from athletes in particular. Indeed, WADA invited the PPF to submit its comments on the IST last year. The date for receiving such submissions was at the end of October 2007. Subsequently, WADA has embarked on further discussions and consultation to ensure that its new Standard was clearly understood by all. This phase included consultation with WADA’s Athlete Committee, with individuals who provided further submissions, with team sports, including the English Football Association (FA) and FIFA, and many others. It is disappointing that the PPF saw fit to criticize a document which is now outdated, and did so without any reference to WADA or request for further data.

In fact, the new document has taken heed of issues surrounding team sports and the WADA Executive Committee will address the new document and consider its approval at its meeting on May 10 in Montreal.

In order to recognize team sports, and in consultation with international federations of team sports, the revised IST has now included a special section which confirms that much of the whereabouts information filed for players on those teams will be collective “team activity” information, and that it is therefore likely that those filings will be made by team officials on a collective basis rather than by players on an individual basis. However, to maintain equal treatment for all athletes, players in team sports are not exempted from the standard whereabouts requirements. Therefore, an athlete in a team sport cannot avoid responsibility by blaming the team for filing inaccurate information about his/her whereabouts.

It is also to be noted that all the opinions WADA has obtained since the Code was first drafted in 2002-2003 indicate that whereabouts requirements in the IST are proportionate. In fact, a ruling from a civil court in Spain last year in relation to the whereabouts standard and rules which form part of the IST in force upheld the validity of out-of-competition whereabouts requirements. There has been no other suggestion or claim that the IST, or the specific whereabouts rules adopted by various anti-doping organizations in conformity with the IST, amounted to a breach of any right of privacy or, for that matter, any other particular right.