WADA President John Fahey has called on Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) worldwide to support the World Anti-Doping Code and to play an active role in the review process designed to strengthen the Code and the rights of “clean athletes”.
Speaking at the WADA Media Symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland, Mr. Fahey emphasized the Code’s importance in the fight against doping in sport and explained that it had been fundamental to WADA’s success in creating a global approach to addressing the issue.
Mr. Fahey also highlighted the growing need for more anti-doping “champions” in both sport and government, and stressed that doping was an issue that now affected society as a whole.
“The Code is the bedrock of the anti-doping community and one of WADA’s great achievements – the challenge involved in creating a lasting policy document that is accepted worldwide should not be underestimated or undervalued,” said Mr. Fahey.
“As such we need our stakeholders to respect and support the Code at all times. It is the result of much research, feedback and consultation with all WADA signatories and, contrary to what some may think, it is not a document WADA produces in isolation.”
During the Symposium WADA Legal Counsel Olivier Niggli gave an in-depth presentation on the two-year Code Review Process which has been underway since November 2011.
Mr. Fahey outlined the importance of this process and the need for all stakeholders to play their part in helping to make it even more robust to face the challenge of the “sophisticated doper”.
To that end, Mr. Fahey said WADA has set up an online digital platform called ‘WADAConnect’ that allows the anti-doping community to make suggestions during the Code Review Process.
“Now is the time for all WADA’s signatories to make suggestions, to review the Code in detail to see how they can strengthen it in light of developments within sport, and society as a whole, over the last few years,” added Mr. Fahey.
“The problem of doping never stands still and we must make sure the Code reflects the changing landscape. This process is designed for our stakeholders and we welcome and encourage their contributions.”
In his address Mr. Fahey emphasized WADA’s continuing efforts to educate athletes against doping, in particular the younger generation tempted by professional contracts and influenced by modern social pressures to have muscular physiques.
“WADA has a number of pillars in its fight against doping, and education and outreach is there to support others such as testing and analysis,” explained Mr. Fahey.
“We have refined our approach to become more coherent in recent years and we continue to build on this by developing means for intelligence gathering and partnerships with law enforcement and pharmaceutical companies.
“Education is an important element in our overall strategy as it is one of WADA’s fundamental responsibilities to help steer the direction young athletes take in their sporting careers.”
Also taking part in the Symposium was WADA Director General David Howman, who highlighted the need for ADOs to use full menu testing of athlete samples.
Mr. Howman said there was a growing concern that ADOs were using the less costly, but less effective, “selected menus” that meant screening for certain substances – such as erythropoietin (EPO) – was less widespread than it should be.
“We need the ADOs to use the full menu because at the moment there is not as much testing for some substances as we need,” explained Mr. Howman.
“WADA is constantly looking at ways in which we can assist the ADOs and labs, and encourage more testing for the full menu, and changes this year to the International Standard for Laboratories should help in this aim.”