WADA confirms non-compliance of the National Anti-Doping Organization of Gabon

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirms that, effective today, the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) of Gabon has been declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).

The non-compliance is the result of its failure to implement the 2021 version of the Code fully within its legal system.

This development follows the decision of WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo), at its meeting of 17 November 2022, to endorse the recommendation of the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) to add the Gabon NADO to the Code compliance ‘watchlist’. The Gabon NADO had provided draft amendments to the relevant legislation that WADA confirmed were in line with the Code, as well as a clear calendar for adoption of those amendments into its legal system. On this basis, the CRC had recommended its inclusion on the ‘watchlist’.

As per the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), by adding the NADOs to the ‘watchlist’, the ExCo gave the Gabon NADO four months to execute its corrective action plan. This deadline of 17 March 2023 passed without the non-conformity having been corrected to the satisfaction of the CRC. As per Article 9.2.3 of the ISCCS, on 20 March 2023, WADA sent the Gabon NADO a formal notice of non-compliance. The Gabon NADO had 21 days following the date of receipt of the formal notice to dispute WADA’s assertion of non-compliance and/or the consequences and/or the conditions of reinstatement proposed by the Agency, in line with Article 9.3.1 of the ISCCS.

The Gabon NADO did not dispute WADA’s assertion of non-compliance, the proposed consequences of non-compliance or the proposed reinstatement conditions within 21 days from WADA’s assertion of non-compliance. As a result, the asserted non-compliance is deemed admitted and the conditions accepted. Accordingly, the formal notice sent to the Gabon NADO on 20 March 2023 is now a final decision.

As recommended by the CRC and approved by WADA’s ExCo, in accordance with Article 11 and Annex B.3.1 of the ISCCS, the following consequences are imposed on the Gabon NADO:

1. The Gabon NADO loses its WADA privileges until reinstatement [ISCCS Annex. B.3.1(a)]. This includes the following:

  • In accordance with the relevant provisions of WADA’s Statutes, NADO representatives shall be ineligible to hold any WADA office or any position as a member of any WADA board or committee or other body, including but not limited to membership of WADA’s Foundation Board, ExCo, any Standing Committee, and any other committee.
  • The NADO shall be ineligible to host any event hosted or organized or co-hosted or co-organized by WADA.
  • NADO representatives shall be ineligible to participate in any WADA Independent Observer program, WADA Athlete Outreach program or other WADA activities.
  • The NADO shall not receive any WADA funding (either directly or indirectly) relating to the development of specific activities or participation in specific programs.

2. The NADO’s representatives shall be ineligible to sit as members of the boards or committees or other bodies of any Code Signatory (or its members) or association of Signatories for a period of one year from the date of the formal notice or until the NADO is reinstated, whichever is longer [ISCCS Annex B.3.1 (d)].

3. The NADO’s country, Gabon, will face certain consequences until reinstatement [ISCCS Annex B.3.1 (e)], including:

  • Gabon will not be awarded the right to host regional, continental and World Championships, as well as other events organized by Major Event Organizations; until reinstatement.
  • The country’s flag will not be flown at regional, continental and World Championships, and other events organized by Major Event Organizations (including the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) until reinstatement.

If the Gabon NADO has still not met the reinstatement conditions after 12 months, the CRC will discuss potential further consequences for consideration by the ExCo as provided by the ISCCS.

As a condition of reinstatement, the Gabon NADO must ensure the adoption and entrance into force of the required amendments to the relevant Gabonese legislation in order to bring it in line with the Code. Throughout this process, WADA will continue to provide guidance and support to the Gabon NADO to resolve its non-conformity. WADA will also monitor the implementation of the consequences listed above by other Code Signatory organizations and may take compliance measures if a Signatory fails to implement them in full. More guidance on the practical implementation of these consequences will be provided in a separate message to the relevant categories of Signatory organizations