WADA publishes revised Policy for the Acceptance of New World Anti-Doping Code Signatories

Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) publishes its revised Policy for the Acceptance of New World Anti-Doping Code Signatories (Signatory Policy), which was approved by the Agency’s Executive Committee (ExCo) during its meeting of 14-15 September 2020.

The revised Signatory Policy, which will come into force on 1 January 2021, has been reviewed to ensure that it aligns with the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code (Code). It is intended to enable organizations that are committed to protecting clean athletes to become Code Signatories. The Policy relates specifically to Code Article 23.1, which outlines the entities that may become Signatories to the Code.

It was determined that the current Signatory Policy – which has been in effect since November 2017 – needed to be reviewed and updated. Therefore, in May 2019, it was agreed that a working group, composed of WADA stakeholder representatives of the Sports Movement and Public Authorities, be established to consider the matter and develop proposed revisions to the Policy. The revisions that were included within the revised Policy reflect the consensus reached by the group. They aim at finding the right balance between protecting the pyramidal model of sport and allowing WADA to accept, as Code Signatories, organizations that are of sufficient relevance in the world of sport; and, are committed to protecting clean athletes, regardless of their status within the Sports Movement.

In summary, the revised Signatory Policy establishes a process whereby an applicant will be assessed in a collaborative manner between WADA Management and a newly created “Signatory Expert Group”, convened as required. As outlined in the Terms of Reference, such a Group would be comprised of one representative from the Sports Movement and one from the Public Authorities; as well as an independent Chair proposed by WADA Management to be approved by the WADA ExCo.

Once WADA Management and the Signatory Expert Group (or, in case of disagreement, the WADA ExCo) determine that the criteria of assessment are met, WADA Management will review the anti-doping program of the applicant through a Code Compliance Questionnaire and review its anti-doping rules. If the applicant’s anti-doping program has no critical non-conformities with the Code and the International Standards or all of its critical non-conformities are corrected within the relevant deadline(s), the applicant shall be accepted as a Signatory by WADA Management.