1 November 2019

WADA welcomes clean sport community in Poland for fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport

  • Foundation Board to elect new WADA President and Vice-President
  • Revised World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards set to be approved
  • Conference participants also to celebrate Agency’s 20th anniversary

From 5-7 November, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will welcome more than 1,500 representatives from the clean sport community to Katowice, Poland, for its fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Agency’s formation.

Organized with the generous support of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Poland, the Conference will convene representatives from the sports movement, public authorities and anti-doping organizations, along with athletes, other anti-doping experts and members of the media to take stock of the evolution of clean sport and engage in high-level discussion and debate about the global anti-doping program.

As outlined in the Conference program, this year’s World Conference will focus on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and International Standards (Standards) that were subject of a two-year review process, and which will be presented for discussion by stakeholders during the Conference. The week will wrap up on 7 November with the Code being presented for endorsement by WADA’s Foundation Board (Board) and the Standards being presented for endorsement by WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo).

On the same day, the Board will elect a new President and Vice-President, who will assume their roles on 1 January 2020. The candidate for President to replace Sir Craig Reedie is Poland’s Minister of Sport and Tourism and former elite 400m runner, Witold Bańka, while China’s double Olympic gold-medal winning short-track speed skater, Yang Yang, is the Vice-Presidential candidate to replace Linda Helleland of Norway.

Looking ahead to his final set of meetings as President, Sir Craig Reedie couldn’t help but reflect on 20 years of challenge, adjustment and growth for WADA.  

He said: “WADA was formed as a response to a widespread doping crisis and it has been at the forefront of protecting clean sport for two decades. Since the Agency’s formation, we have made huge strides in tackling the scourge of doping in sport and we continue to move forward positively on a range of fronts.

“It has been two decades of progress in the face of complex challenges. Founded in November 1999, WADA quickly collaborated with stakeholders and delivered the first edition of the Code in 2003 during the Second World Conference on Doping in Sport in Copenhagen. This was the first time in history that anti-doping rules were harmonized across sports and countries. International Standards were added in such key areas as the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, Therapeutic Use Exemptions, testing and investigations, accredited laboratories, data protection, and compliance.

“In parallel, WADA worked with the United Nations to help develop the UNESCO Convention Against Doping in Sport that provides public authorities with a legal framework through which they can address specific areas of doping that are outside the domain of the sports movement. The Convention was written in record time in 2005 and is now ratified by 188 countries, covering around 99% of the world’s population.

“At the time, WADA committed to ensuring that the Code would be a living document, subject to periodic review. In keeping with that commitment, the Board initiated two other stakeholder review processes that led to the 2009 and 2015 Codes. The purpose of revising the Code and Standards is to leverage WADA’s and stakeholders’ experience garnered through years of practical implementation in order to strengthen the global harmonized fight against doping in sport.

“Next week in Katowice, we gather together as a community to take stock of how far we have come, assess the current landscape and look ahead to shape the future of anti-doping in sport through the approval of the 2021 Code and Standards. Over the past 20 years -- as a movement that includes athletes, governments, sports, laboratories, anti-doping organizations and others that are interested in clean sport -- we have faced many challenges. This did not prevent us from making significant strides. We have come this far together and there is a lot more to do to ensure athletes can compete in a doping-free environment in all sports and all countries. Clearly, there will be more challenges ahead; and so, now more than ever, it is vitally important that we move the right way together for the benefit of athletes worldwide.”

The World Conference will include an impressive line-up of speakers and presenters, which includes athletes, lawyers, scientists, anti-doping experts, journalists, government officials and others as a range of topics will be discussed as part of the official program.