WADA announces launch of Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds website
Ombuds calls on athletes and Anti-Doping Organizations to take note of this important new resource
On behalf of the inaugural Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds (Ombuds), Ms. Anna Thorstenson, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased to announce the launch of the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds website, which is pertinent for Athletes covered by the World Anti-Doping Program.
This website is a secure platform that athletes can use to contact the Ombuds, a free, neutral and confidential resource for athletes with questions or concerns about anti-doping issues. The website includes:
a contact form to send concerns/questions directly to the Ombuds;
detailed answers to frequently asked questions; and
links to other useful material and platforms, such as WADA’s Speak Up platform that is a secure way to report doping or other activity that goes against anti-doping rules.
In March this year, Anna Thorstenson was announced as the inaugural Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds. A Swedish lawyer and anti-doping specialist, Ms. Thorstenson is working independently of WADA; and, is overseeing the pilot project of the Ombuds Program, which includes development and publication of the new website.
“As the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds, my role is to provide Athletes with cost-free, neutral, impartial, and fair advice and assistance with regard to their anti-doping concerns and to ensure fair application of their rights,” says Thorstenson, who has worked in the anti-doping field since 2009. “The new website is an excellent gateway for any Athlete who may have questions or legitimate concerns about their rights or the anti-doping system more generally. I would invite all athletes and Anti-Doping Organizations to please take note of this important new website and for ADOs to share it with athletes within their jurisdiction.”
WADA Athlete Council Chair and ExCo member, Ryan Pini, said: “I am happy to see that the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds website is now up and running. The Ombuds Program is so important to the athlete community. I encourage athletes around the world to feel free to contact the Ombuds, Anna Thorstenson, directly via the site with any questions that they may have concerning the anti-doping system. The Ombuds role was established to fill the gap between Athletes and Anti-Doping Organizations and to provide Athletes with safe and confidential assistance when they feel they are unable to turn to their Anti-Doping Organization directly.”
In November 2021, in line with the ‘Be Athlete Centered’ priority of WADA’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) endorsed the one-year pilot project proposal for an Ombuds Program that was put forward by WADA’s Athlete Committee (now known as the Athlete Council since 1 January 2023). The Program was also supported by the Athlete community and other stakeholders as a natural follow up to the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Rights Act, developed by WADA’s Athlete Committee and published in June 2020.
The Ombuds provides athletes with cost-free, neutral, impartial, fair advice and assistance in relation to the World Anti-Doping Code and the entities that play a role within it.
The Ombuds Program has been launched in Europe but is available to athletes from around the world. The hope is to create guidelines so that Anti-Doping Organizations in other countries may setup similar programs, realizing that many athletes would choose to go local first.
You can learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the Ombuds on the Ombuds website.
About Ms. Anna Thorstenson
Originally from Sweden and now based in Lausanne, Switzerland, Anna Thorstenson is a lawyer by trade and has worked in the anti-doping sphere since 2009. She has been with the Fédération Equestre Internationale as Legal Counsel since 2016 and will continue that role alongside her new role as Ombuds. Her legal work has spanned many areas of anti-doping and she has worked with all stakeholder levels, from athletes to national federations to national anti-doping organizations to Sport Movement bodies to Public Authorities. She has also managed cases before sporting tribunals and the Court of Arbitration for Sport and has led mediation in complex legal cases.
For athletes with questions or concerns about anti-doping issues, use the secure digital platform to ask the Ombuds.