Compliance Monitoring

  1. What is "Code compliance"?
  2. Is Code compliance mandatory?
  3. What is WADA’s responsibility in relation to monitoring compliance with the Code?
  4. How does WADA proceed to monitor Code compliance?
  5. How frequently does WADA report on signatories’ compliance?
  6. What are the consequences of an official declaration of non-compliance by WADA’s Foundation Board?

1. What is "Code compliance"? Up

Compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code)—the document harmonizing regulations regarding anti-doping in all sports and all countries—is the situation in which an anti-doping organization (ADO)—an International Sport Federation (IF), a National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO), a Major Games Organizer, etc.—finds itself after completing a three-step process in relation to the Code.

Firstly, an ADO must accept the Code. By doing this, it agrees to the principles of the Code and agrees to implement and comply with the Code. Secondly, the ADO must implement the Code by amending its rules and policies to include mandatory articles and principles of the Code. These anti-doping rules must be submitted to WADA for review, in order for the rules to be pronounced in line with the Code. Lastly, the ADO must enforce its amended rules and policies in accordance with the Code.

The key objective of such harmony is for all athletes to benefit from strong and fair anti-doping policies and protections, that are the same for all, no matter the sport, the nationality or the country where tested.

2. Is Code compliance mandatory? Up

Yes. In order to ensure efficiency of the harmonized fight against doping in sport and fairness for the athletes, compliance with the Code is mandatory for signatories of the Code, as stated in Article 23.2.1 of the Code: “The signatories shall implement applicable Code provisions through policies, statutes, rules or regulations according to their authority and within their relevant spheres of responsibility.”

3. What is WADA’s responsibility in relation to monitoring compliance with the Code? Up

The Code assigns WADA the responsibility of monitoring implementation and enforcement of the Code by its signatories. WADA achieves this in a number of ways. For example, WADA assists ADOs by ensuring their anti-doping regulations are drafted in line with the Code and that these regulations are subsequently enforced in a Code compliant manner. WADA helps establish Code compliant anti-doping organizations including through Regional Anti-Doping Organizations (RADOs) in areas of the world where resources are limited. WADA also contributes towards costs of the anti-doping services launched by GAISF. (Through this initiative, launched with the support of WADA and the International Olympic Committee, GAISF provides centralized anti-doping advice, support and services to the IFs that may need them.)

As part of its monitoring responsibilities, WADA closely monitors doping cases and exercises its right of appeal (mainly before the Court of Arbitration for Sport—CAS) for cases under the jurisdiction of organizations that have implemented the Code.

4. How does WADA proceed to monitor Code compliance? Up

WADA has been reviewing ADOs’ anti-doping rules since 2003  – most recently with regard to the latest version of the Code which took effect on 1 January 2015 – to check whether they are in line with the Code, and makes its own assessment of the situation of the various ADOs. In particular, WADA checks whether ADOs are implementing the Code into their own rules in relation to anti-doping rule violations, sanctions, WADA’s right of appeal, out-of-competition testing, and compliance with the International Standards (namely the Prohibited List, the International Standard for Testing, the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemption, and the International Standard for Data Protection).

In addition, WADA monitors the implementation of programs by ADOs, including through questionnaires sent to Signatories, review of available and collected information, and audits. WADA has committed significant resources to follow up with every signatory with the objective of assisting each of them achieve Code compliance.

WADA’s internal Compliance Task Force reports to the Compliance Review Committee (CRC) – a WADA Standing Committee – as well as the the Agency's Executive Committee and Foundation Board. The CRC is an independent, non-political committee tasked with providing independent advice, guidance and recommendations to WADA’s Management and Foundation Board on matters relating to Code compliance. WADA’s Foundation Board is the body that has authority to declare a Signatory non-compliant following advice from the CRC.

This Code compliance monitoring process is ISO-certified

5. How frequently does WADA report on signatories’ compliance? Up

WADA's management reports on the implementation and enforcement of the Code by its signatories to the Agency’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board at each of their meetings. The CRC can provide recommendations of non-compliance to the Foundation Board. Situations of non-compliance are communicated to the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, International Federations and Major Event Organizations. This information is  also made available to the public (Code Article 23.5.5).

Before reporting a Signatory non-compliant, WADA shall enter into discussion with the Signatory. The Signatory is also provided with the opportunity to submit its written arguments to the WADA Foundation Board (Code Article 23.5.4).

6. What are the consequences of an official declaration of non-compliance by WADA’s Foundation Board? Up

The Code states that stakeholders—such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC), IFs, Major Event Organizers, etc.—who have jurisdiction to impose consequences on those who are declared non-compliant by WADA’s Foundation Board, may do so. For example, the IOC amended its Olympic Charter in 2003 so that adoption and implementation of the Code by the Olympic Movement is mandatory and that only Code compliant sports can be part of the Olympic program.

Other consequences may include the ineligibility to bid to host events, cancellation of international events, and symbolic consequences. 

At the WADA level, the Foundation Board approved a number of additional consequences of non-compliance at it's November 2015 meeting through the WADA Statutes and a WADA Policy. These include representation in WADA’s Executive Committee, Foundation Board, ad hoc and standing committees;  participation in WADA’s Independent Observer Missions and Outreach Programs; and the possibility for WADA to stop providing direct or indirect funding to non-compliant signatories.

The imposition of such consequences, as well as the declaration of non-compliance, may be appealed to CAS by the relevant ADO, under Articles 13.6 and 23.6 of the Code.

At its November 2016 meeting, the Foundation Board endorsed a graded sanctioning approach for non-compliance that was put forward by the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC).  Next steps will involve further consultation and, once enacted, the new framework will equip the anti-doping system with the ability to levy meaningful, predictable and proportionate sanctions in cases of non-compliance by ADOs with the Code.