WADA publishes first Code Compliance Annual Report

Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published its first-ever World Anti-Doping Code (Code) Compliance Annual Report for 2019 (Report), as well as WADA’s accompanying Compliance Strategy that was endorsed by WADA’s Executive Committee in late 2019 (1).

One of WADA’s primary roles as the global regulatory body for anti-doping is to monitor effective implementation of the Code and its six(2) related International Standards (Standards) by over 350 Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) such as, National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), International Federations (IFs) and Major Event Organizations.

WADA’s Chief Operating Officer, Frédéric Donzé, who oversees the Agency’s compliance activities, said: “WADA is pleased to publish its first-ever Compliance Annual Report for 2019. This Report is an element of the new Compliance Strategy and another important piece of WADA’s commitment to transparency. Among other objectives, the Report is intended to clearly outline the achievements and challenges of WADA’s Compliance Monitoring Program, which aims to reinforce the standard of Code Signatory organizations’ work worldwide.”   

Key findings of Signatory compliance monitoring for 2019

As outlined in the 26-page Report, the key findings of Signatory compliance monitoring for 2019 include the following:

  • WADA operated its compliance activities under the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS) and the accompanying Prioritization Policy for its first full year following its coming into force in April 2018.
  • Significant, high-profile, WADA-led investigations have contributed to a number of compliance activities by WADA departments, Standing Committees and governing bodies. In particular, the Russian investigation has required an unprecedented amount of human and financial resources.
  • WADA now has at its disposal a number of effective and robust compliance monitoring programs. In 2019, WADA launched three new compliance monitoring programs – the Major Event Organization (MEO) Code Compliance Questionnaire (CCQ), the Continuous Monitoring Program, and the Desk Audit Program.
  • Over 3,000 corrective actions were implemented by Signatories in 2019 with testing identified as the main source of non-conformities. Strategies have been developed to assist Signatories, including through a number of easy to use templates and checklists that are available on WADA’s Anti-Doping e-Learning platform (ADeL).
  • Unsurprisingly, a clear link between improving the quality of testing programs and financial resources has been identified. A better understanding of costs associated with quality testing programs is required to assist Signatories to increase their budgets and resources.
  • The creation of the International Testing Agency (ITA) – which is working with a growing number of IFs – and the implementation of partnerships between developed and developing NADOs have significantly contributed to the compliance of the relevant Signatories’ activities.

About the Report

The purpose of the Report is, in particular, to:

  • Provide a clear and integrated report outlining the achievements and challenges of the Compliance Monitoring Program, measuring objectives against key performance indicators through quantitative and qualitative analysis including areas for improvement.
  • Detail the interpretation and implications of the findings, trends and lessons learned over time towards ADO’s compliance maturity as defined in the Compliance Strategy.
  • Identify opportunities for continual improvement that will be the foundation for the following year’s Compliance Annual Plan. This cycle will be repeated annually as WADA seeks to develop compliance maturity through continual improvement of its own compliance activities and the global anti-doping system.


(1)     In light of the evolving situation with COVID-19, WADA and Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) worldwide are adjusting the way in which they conduct their daily anti-doping operations. Following consultation with ADOs and other stakeholders, on 20 March, WADA issued ADO Guidance, which is aimed at ensuring the health and safety of athletes and all those that are touched by anti-doping operations; and, protecting the integrity of the global anti-doping system. The Agency is conscious of the fact that COVID-19 will have impacts on the Compliance Strategy and Annual Plan referenced above, as well as on the conduct of anti-doping programs by Signatories worldwide, which will be monitored and considered accordingly. WADA’s Compliance Monitoring Program provides a level of flexibility and understanding based on the circumstances.

(2)     Two additional Standards – on education and on results management – will be introduced in January 2021.