WADA Compliance Review Committee resumes full Code compliance procedures

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) met virtually on 14 and 15 April 2021 to discuss a number of important issues relating to WADA’s World Anti-Doping Code (Code) compliance monitoring program.

In particular, the CRC decided to resume in their entirety, with immediate effect, the full compliance procedures detailed in the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS) and described here. This means that where a World Anti-Doping Code (Code) Signatory is currently in a compliance procedure* and the subsequent three-month deadline provided by WADA’s internal Compliance Taskforce under the ISCCS has expired, the CRC will review the case and, where it deems it necessary, will make a recommendation of non-compliance of the Signatory to the WADA Executive Committee.

However, in order to recognize the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for some Signatories’ anti-doping programs, the CRC decided to postpone any recommendation of non-compliance until its next meeting in August 2021. The exception to this will be cases where serious non-conformities may not have been resolved by a Signatory that is in a position to do so, and where the CRC may be invited by WADA Management to make a recommendation of non-compliance to the WADA Executive Committee following a “fast track” compliance procedure outlined in Article 8.5 of the ISCCS.

This CRC decision was based in particular on the presentation by WADA Management of data on testing activity since the previous meeting of the CRC in February 2021, which demonstrated an increase in the number of testing authorities worldwide collecting samples and a return to “near-to-normal levels” of global testing activity. This decision follows one full year of various levels of freezing of compliance procedures due to the pandemic.

Since COVID-19 started, WADA and the CRC have regularly reviewed and analyzed the situation affecting Signatories’ ability to deliver their anti-doping activities and, since freezing all procedures in April 2020, have gradually re-opened those procedures in a staggered approach. At its October 2020 meeting, the CRC decided to re-open the issuing of Corrective Action Reports (CARs) and Mandatory Information Requests (MIRs). Then, in February 2021, the CRC decided to re-open the possibility for the Agency to initiate compliance procedures. The final step of the procedure that remained frozen was recommendations by the CRC of cases of non-compliance to the WADA Executive Committee, which has now been reinstated.

During its meeting of 14 and 15 April 2021, the CRC also received updates and discussed the following issues:

  • Details of WADA’s monitoring of the implementation by Signatories of the consequences imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the case between WADA and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), as well as WADA’s monitoring of RUSADA in light of the CAS decision;
  • Developments in WADA’s compliance monitoring program, including monitoring of Signatories’ anti-doping rules in light of the 2021 Code and the conduct of virtual audits, which have temporarily replaced in-person audits due to ongoing travel restrictions and public health guidance;
  • The Agency’s 2021 Annual Compliance Plan, which builds on the 2020 Compliance Annual Report published in March 2021;
  • An introduction to WADA’s new Compliance Investigations Section, a new section of WADA’s Investigations & Intelligence Department dedicated to investigating Signatories’ Code compliance issues;
  • Plans to revise the ISCCS and to launch an open stakeholder consultation process, which have now been postponed to 2022 to avoid interfering with the ongoing WADA governance review; and
  • An update on a number of specific cases of Signatories in relation to ongoing compliance matters.

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. Its Chair, the Hon. James Wood QC, will report to the next meetings of WADA’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board that will be held on 20-21 May 2021.

For more information on Code compliance, please visit the Code Compliance section of WADA’s website.

*A compliance procedure is opened by WADA’s internal Compliance Taskforce when a Signatory does not resolve a non-conformity contained in a Corrective Action Report by a given deadline. As a result, the Signatory is generally given a further three months to resolve the outstanding non-conformity to the satisfaction of WADA prior to it being referred to the CRC.