21 October 2019

WADA publishes Independent Observer Team Report from 2019 European Games

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its Independent Observer (IO) Team’s Report regarding the anti-doping program at the 2019 European Games held in Minsk, Belarus from 21-30 June 2019.

As it has done at a number of major events since 2000, WADA sent a team to monitor the anti-doping program that was run by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) with the aim of reinforcing confidence in athletes and the public as to the quality, effectiveness and reliability of the Games’ anti-doping program.

In addition to collaboration with the EOC and providing general support prior to the Games, the team provided real-time feedback to the EOC designed to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the program in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards.

Led by Hamish Coffey from UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), the four-person team was composed of international experts in anti-doping who observed and provided feedback on all aspects of doping control. This included the implementation of general anti-doping policies and procedures; test distribution planning; implementation of the out-of-competition and in-competition testing programs; athlete selection and notification; Therapeutic Use Exemptions procedures; sample collection procedures; the transport of samples and their chain of custody; and the results management process, including hearings that were held during the IO Team’s presence.

IO Team Chair, Hamish Coffey said: “The anti-doping program implemented at the 2nd European Games was comprehensive, robust and risk-based, and on behalf of the IO Team I would like to commend the EOC and the Minsk European Games Organizing Committee (MEGOC) for their efforts in protecting the rights of clean athletes and protecting the integrity of the event. In this report, the IO Team have highlighted the strengths of the program, as well as recommendations for the EOC to consider for future editions of the Games, as this event continues to grow and evolve. The IO Team extends our thanks to the EOC and MEGOC for their openness and collaboration before, during and after the Games.

As is the case following all IO Team missions, the report includes a number of recommendations for the EOC and WADA itself – all designed to enhance anti-doping activities at future Games.