22 June 2009

WADA Meets with European Data Protection Working Party

On June 17, WADA representatives were invited to a meeting in Brussels with the Article 29 Working Party, which is composed of the 27 independent data protection authorities of the European Union. WADA was asked for its response to the advisory opinion adopted in April 2009 by the Working Party in relation to the International Data Protection Standard and a number of longstanding anti-doping rules and practices.

WADA accepted the brief opportunity it was afforded to discuss anti-doping matters with the Working Party and expects that this meeting may be the start of a more constructive dialogue. This meeting followed numerous meetings with European governmental authorities which led to the approval of an enhanced version of the International Data Protection Standard by WADA’s Executive Committee in May 2009.

On this occasion, WADA clarified a number of key points and explained why it continues to disagree with many of the views expressed in the advisory opinion. For example, WADA rejects the suggestion that anti-doping efforts do not serve an important public interest and is firmly of the view there is no basis at present for lowering the existing 8 year statute of limitations for doping violations, as suggested by the advisory opinion. In WADA’s view, the advisory opinion generally fails to take into account the rationale of established international rules governing doping matters, including most notably the UNESCO Convention against Doping in Sport, and, if followed, could undermine the fight against doping in Europe. 

In addition, many of the issues raised by the Working Party in its opinion relate to matters of European Union law, which WADA (and indeed European anti-doping authorities) cannot resolve for the Working Party; or to matters arising under the World Anti-Doping Code, which has been unanimously approved by European Governments.