WADA Executive Committee endorses recommendations of non-compliance of eight Anti-Doping Organizations
- ExCo also approves enhanced compliance requirements starting in 2022
- 2022 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods adopted
- Review of cannabis status on the Prohibited List to be initiated while remaining prohibited in 2022
- Working Group on Governance Reforms submits second interim report as progress continues to be made
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Executive Committee (ExCo) held its third meeting of the year today in Istanbul, Turkey. ExCo members, some of whom attended in person and others virtually, were updated on WADA’s progress on key priorities, took a number of decisions – the main ones being summarized below – and made recommendations to the Agency’s Foundation Board (Board) for its next meeting in November.
WADA is composed of a 38-member Foundation Board (Board), which is the Agency’s highest policy-making body, and the 14-person ExCo, to which the Board delegates the management and running of the Agency. The ExCo is composed of five representatives each from the Sports Movement, including an athlete, and Governments, as well as four independent members, including the President and Vice-President.
After the meeting, WADA President Witold Bańka, said: “I am pleased with the decisions that were taken today by the Executive Committee on a range of key topics. These will help further strengthen the global anti-doping program and the protection of clean sport. In particular, the decisions made by the committee in relation to compliance, the 2022 Prohibited List and in a number of science-related areas will prove to be important for the continued success of the system and for the good of athletes around the world.”
Compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code
The ExCo followed the recommendation from the Agency’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) to assert the following six Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) as non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) due to their lack of full implementation of the 2021 version of the Code within their legal systems. Depending on these ADOs’ individual situations, this lack of full implementation is related to their anti-doping rules and/or their country’s legislation, in the cases concerning countries that chose to implement the Code through legislation.
- Deaf International Basketball Federation (DIBF);
- German Community of Belgium National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO);
- International Gira Sports Federation (IGSF);
- Montenegro NADO;
- Romania NADO; and
- Thailand NADO.
The 2021 version of the Code was approved in November 2019 and came into effect on 1 January 2021.
In addition, the ExCo followed the CRC recommendation to assert the following two NADOs as non-compliant due to non-conformities with the Code in their anti-doping programs.
- Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; and
Under Article 10.3.1 of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), the eight Code Signatory organizations listed above have 21 days following the date of receipt of the formal notice of non-compliance to dispute WADA’s assertion of non-compliance, as well as the proposed consequences and/or the reinstatement conditions proposed by the Agency. WADA will communicate further information publicly about these individual cases following completion of the 21-day period.
Further, as allowed by Article 8.4.5 of the ISCCS, the ExCo approved the CRC recommendation to give four months, effective today, to the following 10 NADOs to correct their outstanding non-conformities with the Code, which are due to non-conformities in their anti-doping programs and/or lack of implementation of the 2021 Code in their legal systems, and to implement the corrective action plans and schedules they recently submitted to WADA. If their corrective actions are not implemented by 14 January 2022, the NADOs on this ‘watchlist’ will automatically receive a formal notice of non-compliance without the need for any further decision by the ExCo.
- Brussels Community of Belgium;
- Flemish Community of Belgium;
- French Community of Belgium;
- Spain; and
Since November 2019, WADA’s Compliance Department has been in regular communication with all Code Signatories to ensure they had every opportunity to bring their anti-doping rules and programs – in addition to countries’ legislation where needed – satisfactorily into line with the revised Code.
WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said: “A central pillar of WADA’s mission is to monitor the activities of Code Signatories to ensure they remain in compliance. It is vital for the global program that all sports and all countries follow the same set of rules and implement compliant anti-doping programs. This harmonization means that athletes know what to expect from the anti-doping system no matter where they are from or where they are competing.
“In an effort to avoid asserting non-compliance on Signatories, WADA has made every effort to support and enable them to address any problem areas. However, when that joint effort is unsuccessful, WADA has an obligation under the Code and ISCCS to take action to uphold the system and protect sport. WADA will continue to work closely with each of these Signatories to ensure they can return to compliance, or be removed from the watchlist, as quickly as possible.”
Lastly, the ExCo approved a revision to the prioritization policy for how WADA applies the ISCCS. The revision, which will come into effect on 1 January 2022, will expand ADOs’ accountability in the enforcement of the Code in a graded and proportional manner to include enhanced requirements for NADOs, International Federations and Major Event Organizations. This revised policy will be communicated to all Code Signatory organizations and publicly in the coming weeks.
List of Prohibited Substances and Methods
The ExCo approved the 2022 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods (List). Updated annually, the List designates what substances and methods are prohibited both in and out of competition under the Code. There will be limited modifications to the List, which will be published before 1 October 2021 and come into effect on 1 January 2022.
Of particular note, all injectable routes of administration of glucocorticoids in competition will be prohibited starting on 1 January 2022. This modification was endorsed by the ExCo in September 2020. However, at that time, the ExCo asked WADA Management to delay its implementation to allow enough time for broad communication and education of athletes, their entourage and medical personnel so that there is a better understanding of the practical implementation of washout periods to avoid inadvertent Adverse Analytical Findings. The delay is also allowing WADA-accredited laboratories the time to update their procedures to incorporate the revised and substance-specific reporting values. It also gives sports authorities time to develop educational tools for athletes, and for medical and support personnel to address the safe use of glucocorticoids for clinical purposes within anti-doping.
In addition, following receipt of requests from a number of stakeholders, the ExCo endorsed the decision of the List Expert Advisory Group to initiate in 2022 a scientific review of the status of cannabis. Cannabis is currently prohibited in competition and will continue to be in 2022.
Access to Athlete Biological Passport Blood Data
The ExCo approved a change removing athletes’ real-time access permissions to their Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) hematological data in the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS). Evidence from the ‘Operation Aderlass’ investigation revealed that some athletes were able to monitor this data in ADAMS, with the help of support personnel, in order to calibrate their doping strategy and avoid detection. Under the International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information (ISPPPI), as well as privacy and data protection laws, athletes maintain the right to access their personal information but this right does not require that the data be directly or immediately accessible via ADAMS. Athletes will continue to be able to submit a request to the relevant ADO for a copy of their ABP blood data in accordance with the ISPPPI.
Scientific Research Grants
The ExCo approved funding recommendations for research proposals for WADA’s 2021 call for scientific research grants. A total of 24 projects were selected for funding, from a total of 66 proposals received, amounting to USD 2,807,434. Details of these projects will be published on WADA’s website in the coming months once the individual contracts are signed.
The ExCo agreed to grant Candidate Laboratory Status to the Shanghai Anti-Doping Laboratory located at the Shanghai University of Sport, China. The decision follows a recommendation from WADA’s Laboratory Expert Group (LabEG), which determined that the laboratory’s application for the status conformed with the relevant section (Article 4) of the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL). The LabEG will now evaluate the Candidate Laboratory’s progress in fulfilling all ISL requirements, including the development of its technical and analytical capabilities, to enter into the probationary phase of accreditation within a three-year period, as per the process of accreditation.
The ExCo received a progress report from the Working Group on the Review of WADA Governance Reforms on the implementation and timing of WADA’s wide-ranging and ongoing governance reforms. The seven-person Working Group, which is composed of governance experts, includes two athletes and an independent Chair, Professor Ulrich Haas. Professor Haas presented the Group’s second interim report to the meeting, outlining the feedback it had received from stakeholders as regards current and future governance reforms under discussion, including the establishment of a Code of Ethics and independent Ethics Panel. It is the Group’s intention to present a full report to the Board at its next meeting in November.
WADA President Witold Bańka said: “Reform of WADA’s governance structure has already brought about significant enhancements to how the Agency is administered. Now with more independent members throughout the organization, WADA’s governance also benefits from greater representation of athletes and National Anti-Doping Organizations. The process of further reforms continues and we had another productive discussion on what that could look like. We continue to fully embrace the ongoing process of reform to ensure our governance evolves together with our global mission for doping-free sport.”
The ExCo received an update regarding the state of the global anti-doping program during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions continue to be lifted in a growing number of countries around the world, more and more ADOs are resuming their testing programs, following the guidance provided by WADA and the various governments and health authorities. Since the start of the pandemic early in 2020, WADA has provided detailed updates on the impact of COVID-19 on WADA and global anti-doping programs.
As regards testing, following the initial global slowdown in March and April 2020, anti-doping resumed quickly and safely, with the number of out-of-competition samples returning to pre-pandemic levels by early 2021 as the global anti-doping community did its part to ensure that athletes were tested leading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. With the latest figures from June 2021 (29,464 samples collected versus 26,904 collected in the same month in 2019) and July 2021 (24,831 samples versus 28,084 in July 2019) now available, global testing remains strong. Out-of-competition testing is now significantly above the corresponding level in 2019 (105,566 samples collected from January to July in 2021 versus 90,220 collected during the same period in 2019).
WADA will continue to publish updates regarding its response to COVID-19 as the situation evolves and will formally update the ExCo again at its next meeting in November.
The ExCo will meet next on 24 November 2021 in Paris, France with the Board meeting the following day.