The independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) held its third meeting of the year on 4 and 5 August 2020, by conference call, to discuss a number of issues related to Signatory compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).
The Committee focused on the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on anti-doping programs worldwide and acknowledged the ongoing complexities affecting Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) in this unprecedented and unpredictable situation.
The CRC members were pleased to hear that many ADOs had resumed their activities. They also expressed the expectation that, as sport activities, including competitions, gradually resume after suspension or restriction, anti-doping activities will be ramped up in parallel. The CRC advised WADA to maintain its compliance monitoring activities in a robust but flexible manner during this time. In the case where serious non-conformities are not resolved by a Signatory who is in a position to do so, WADA has the option to apply the “fast track” compliance procedure as detailed in Article 9.5 of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS).
WADA thus encourages all ADOs to continue to advance their anti-doping programs, to the extent possible, and remains available to assist all Code Signatories.
Regarding the continuation of the temporary measures in effect during this time, the CRC endorsed WADA Management’s proposal to prolong them as part of the Agency’s monitoring of Signatory compliance with the Code. Therefore, there will be no change to the measures that were announced by the CRC in April 2020 which are:
- the postponement of a number of deadlines (and the consequent freezing of the related enforcement procedures) for ADOs to meet ongoing compliance requirements and complete corrective actions under the ISCCS; and
- a general degree of adaptability in WADA’s Compliance Monitoring Program during the period. This will include the introduction of “virtual” compliance audits due to travel restrictions limiting the opportunity to conduct in-person audits. These virtual audits, which WADA will start to pilot from September 2020, will involve WADA requesting in advance from the audited ADO a number of documents for review. The virtual audit will then be conducted over a 3- or 4-day period for several hours each day, and WADA will provide any corrective actions identified in a Corrective Action Report (CAR). This is a new WADA initiative to maintain robust monitoring activities during this period.
As indicated earlier today by WADA in a communication to Code Signatories, the CRC will review these temporary measures and discuss WADA’s longer term plans for Signatory compliance monitoring at its next meeting, scheduled for 6 and 7 October 2020.
Other topics that were discussed during the CRC meeting include:
- An update regarding the non-compliance case against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) that is pending before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)*;
- An update on the ongoing investigations into the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF);
- An update on WADA’s Compliance Annual Plan for 2020 – a requirement of WADA’s Compliance Strategy;
- An update regarding the implementation by International Federations, National Anti-Doping Organizations and Major Event Organizations of the corrective actions identified through WADA’s Code Compliance Monitoring Program, in particular, through the desk and in-person audit program and the continuous monitoring program; and
- A review of the future of the Policy for WADA’s Initial Application of the ISCCS, and the potential dates for introducing a revised version of the policy. The policy was first approved by WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) on 15 November 2017 and was extended by the ExCo in January 2020 until the end of 2020.
The CRC is responsible for providing independent advice, guidance and recommendations to WADA Management and governing bodies on matters relating to Signatories' compliance with their obligations under the Code. The CRC Chair, the Hon. James Wood QC, will report to the next meeting of WADA’s ExCo on 15 September 2020.
For more information on Code compliance, please visit the Code Compliance section of WADA’s website.
*The CRC meeting ended before WADA learned of the recommendation of RUSADA’s Supervisory Board to dismiss RUSADA’s Director General. WADA will now discuss this development with the CRC as indicated here.