16 November 2020

WADA publishes ADO survey outcomes concerning impact of COVID-19 on anti-doping programs worldwide

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased to share the outcomes of a survey that the Agency issued on 2 September 2020 to Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) worldwide for completion by 18 September 2020. The survey, which was aimed at assessing the impact that COVID-19 was having on anti-doping programs worldwide, is part of a broader review to also determine what lessons can be learned from the situation; gather feedback on the COVID-19 Guidance for Resuming Testing document issued by WADA on 6 May 2020; and, determine the impact that COVID-19 was having on sample collection, shipment and the sample analytical process.
 
The survey was issued to 247 ADOs and nearly half of them responded. Of the respondents:

  • 75% were National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs);
  • 10% were International Federations (IFs); and
  • 15% were ‘Other’ (e.g., Regional Anti-Doping Organizations).

WADA is extremely grateful to all who took the time to complete the survey. As you will see from the survey results, responses showed that the guidance documents that WADA developed and shared with ADOs in the early stages of the pandemic were very useful. The feedback received is assisting WADA in determining the improvements that can be made to these documents; as well as, the global anti-doping system; in particular, how we can continue to adapt and be better prepared should similar public health crises arise in the future.
 
In short, the survey provided feedback on a number of key areas that have or are in the process of being addressed including:

  • That information and guidance documents be updated as promptly as possible. WADA is working with key stakeholders to update guidance documents for ADOs. In particular, the Strategic Testing Expert Group is in the process of updating the COVID-19 Guidance for Resuming Testing document, which WADA intends to publish late November 2020 in the dedicated COVID-19 section of WADA’s website. This will provide further assistance to ADOs as they continue to test/resume testing during the pandemic including guidance on in-competition testing, blood testing, storage of samples, and B sample analysis -- all with the continued focus on the health and safety of athletes and sample collection personnel.
     
  • Requests for flexibility around compliance matters. The independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) announced flexibility around compliance matters due to the exceptional nature of the situation. This was communicated to Code Signatories after each of the meetings of the CRC since March 2020 and will be further reviewed during the next CRC meeting in early 2021.
     
  • That there be priority testing. WADA is working with the anti-doping community to ensure that the priority for testing is on athletes that are due to compete in upcoming major events, including: the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, World Championships and other major events.
     
  • That there be ongoing support for the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code (Code) implementation. WADA will continue to support ADOs with their implementation of the 2021 Code and International Standards via its Code Implementation Support Program (CISP) that includes numerous live webinars, guideline documents and other supporting documentation (e.g., factsheets, checklists, templates, etc.) – all that are available on WADA’s Anti-Doping e-Learning platform (ADeL). In addition, we encourage all ADOs to continue engaging with the relevant WADA Departments as well as the WADA Regional Offices for direct assistance and support.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at SandH@wada-ama.org.