WADA Executive Committee takes a number of decisions ahead of fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport

Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Executive Committee (ExCo) met in Katowice, Poland. The 12-member ExCo is WADA's ultimate policy-making body and is composed equally of representatives from the Sports Movement and Governments of the world.

The half-day meeting, which took place on the eve of WADA’s fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport (5-7 November), focused on a number of decisions and recommendations to the Foundation Board, which will meet on 7 November, concerning a range of topics. The main decisions are outlined in the summary below.

Reflecting on the day’s events, WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie, said: “This week is an important one for WADA and the broader anti-doping community, and I am pleased with the discussions that the ExCo had on a number of key matters. As we head into the start of the World Conference tomorrow, it is clear that everyone is focused on ensuring significant outcomes that will strengthen the global anti-doping program in the interest of athletes worldwide.”

RUSADA Code Compliance

The ExCo heard an update from the Chair of the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC), Jonathan Taylor, on the compliance procedure currently underway against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). WADA initiated the procedure following identification by the Agency’s Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) Department and by independent forensic experts of inconsistencies in the data retrieved by WADA I&I from the Moscow Laboratory in January 2019.

As per WADA’s update of 28 October, the matter is being dealt with robustly and as quickly as practicable. Once the experts conclude their assessment, a report will be sent to the CRC to consider. Should the CRC make a recommendation regarding RUSADA’s compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), it will be sent to the ExCo for decision at a meeting to be held as soon as possible, in line with the process laid out in the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories.

Separately, an initial batch of 47 evidentiary packages, based on data unaffected by the inconsistencies, have been sent to the relevant international federations for them to bring cases forward. Concurrently, WADA I&I continues to build more evidentiary packages.

Social Science Research

The ExCo approved the recommendation of WADA’s Education Committee to fund eight social science research project grants totaling USD 332,841 under the 2020 Social Science Research Grant Program. The details of the newly approved projects will be made available under the Social Science Research section of WADA’s website in due course.

International Standard for Testing and Investigations

The ExCo approved amendments to the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI), specifically related to the requirement for urine samples to meet a suitable specific gravity for analysis. The minimum volume of urine required for analysis will remain at 90ml but if an athlete can provide 150ml or more of urine, the minimum specific gravity measurement (using a refractometer) will be lowered to 1:003 or above instead of the current 1:005. The minimum 1:005 specific gravity requirement will remain in place for samples with a volume greater than 90ml but less than 150ml.

These changes, which were endorsed by WADA’s Laboratory Expert Group, recognize significant enhancements in the sensitivity of laboratory analytical methods made over the past 20 years and will reduce the amount of time some athletes will have to spend in doping control stations, making the process more athlete-friendly while also presenting a saving in resources for anti-doping organizations.

The revised ISTI will be published shortly and the amendments will take effect on 1 March 2020. This is an exceptional approval, in advance of other changes to the Standard that will come into force on 1 January 2021, meaning these changes can be utilized during the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo and during most of 2020.

Health, Medical and Research

The ExCo approved an application for candidate status from the Laboratorio Clinico Genetix located in Panama City, Panama, to become a laboratory approved for Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) analysis. The laboratory’s application for ABP-approved status will now go forward to the WADA Laboratory Expert Group that will evaluate whether its technical and analytical capabilities justify approval.

In addition, the ExCo gave approval to the following six WADA-accredited laboratories to manage Athlete Passport Management Units (APMUs):

  1. Beijing, China
  2. Doha, Qatar
  3. London, United Kingdom
  4. Montreal, Canada
  5. Rome, Italy
  6. Salt Lake City, USA

The APMU status, which confirms that these laboratories fulfill a number of quality and independence criteria, will allow the laboratories in question to drive essential anti-doping activities in relation to the ABP program. These six laboratories join the ten approved as APMUs by the ExCo at its 23 September meeting in Tokyo. 

World Conference

The three-day World Conference begins tomorrow with a packed program, filled with expert speakers from all aspects of the global anti-doping community, including athletes, scientists, investigators, lawyers, administrators, government officials and educators.

As outlined in the Conference program, this fifth World Conference will focus on the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and International Standards (Standards) that were subject of a two-year review process; and which, will be presented for discussion by stakeholders during the Conference. The week will wrap up on 7 November with the Code being presented for endorsement by WADA’s Foundation Board (Board) and the Standards being presented for endorsement by the ExCo.

On the same day, the Board will elect a new President and Vice-President, who will assume their roles on 1 January 2020. The candidate for President to replace Sir Craig Reedie is Poland’s Minister of Sport and Tourism and former elite 400m runner, Witold Bańka, while China’s double Olympic gold-medal winning short-track speed skater, Yang Yang, is the Vice-Presidential candidate to replace Linda Helleland of Norway.

As part of the week’s activities, attendees will be marking the 20th anniversary of WADA’s formation by recalling some of the Agency’s main achievements in its short history; and, identifying some of the main challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.