22 February 2012

WADA Athlete Committee: Signatories must respect the Code

Members of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Athlete Committee have given their unanimous support to the World Anti-Doping Code and called on sport and governments worldwide to continue their commitment to its statutes for the sake of clean sport.

During a meeting in Tokyo on occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Japan Anti-Doping Agency, the Committee agreed that the Code was the crucial element that helped bind together the anti-doping community and allowed it to form a united front against doping in sport.

“The Code is the glue that unites the wide number of anti-doping organizations around the world and allows them to approach the problem in a regulated and unified way,” said former Olympic snowboarder Sara Fischer, who was acting chairperson for the meeting.

“With new substances and methods being abused, the problem with drugs in sport is constantly changing and so the Code needs to change to keep up with these unfortunate developments.

“Not everyone has to agree with all aspects of the Code, but they must respect it at all times otherwise the harmonization in anti-doping that we all strive for will be lost.

“The Code is an evolving document and all of WADA’s signatories now have the opportunity to make recommendations to amend it.”

During the meeting, WADA Legal Counsel Olivier Niggli gave a detailed presentation on the Code, how it had evolved since it was created in 2004, and the second multi-phase Code Review Process that started in November.

The Committee also highlighted the importance of sportsmen and women to play a bigger role in the Review, and encouraged athletes current and past to contribute to its development.

“Athletes are at the forefront of sport and the ones who are exposed to the testing and the dangers of doping,” added Sweden’s Fischer, who was standing in as chairperson for Russian ice-hockey legend Vyacheslav Fetisov.

“Our experiences are hugely invaluable to the anti-doping community’s efforts to make the Code as fair and as robust as possible for sport across the world.

“The Code Review Process is already in operation and runs through to November of next year, so there is no excuse for athletes not to make a contribution.

“It is not WADA’s Code, it is the World Anti-Doping Code – it is drafted only after in-depth consultation and approval from stakeholders. As such, athletes have a big responsibility to play a part in the Code’s development.”

The Committee was shown WADA’s new online consultation platform WADAConnect, which was designed so interested parties can easily make recommendations to amend the Code.