The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) is the core document that harmonizes anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities around the world. It works in conjunction with five International Standards which aim to foster consistency among anti-doping organizations in various areas: testing; laboratories; Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs); the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods; and the protection of privacy and personal information.
This unified approach addresses problems that previously arose from disjointed and uncoordinated anti-doping efforts, including, among others: a scarcity and splintering of resources required to conduct research and testing; a lack of knowledge about specific substances and procedures being used and to what degree; and an inconsistent approach to sanctions for those athletes found guilty of doping.
Ever since it entered into force on 1 January 2004, the Code has proven to be a powerful and effective tool in the harmonization of anti-doping efforts worldwide. This has been demonstrated by the overwhelming support of governments and sports in accepting the Code, in addition to the growing body of jurisprudence from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in supporting the principles of the Code.
The adoption of the Code led to several significant advances in the global fight against doping in sport, including the formalization of certain rules and the clarification of stakeholder responsibilities. This new approach to anti-doping brought consistency to a previously disjointed system.
The Code has also been instrumental in introducing the concept of “non-analytical” rule violations. Non-analytical rule violations have allowed anti-doping organizations to apply sanctions in cases where there is no positive doping sample, but where there may still be evidence that a doping violation has occurred (e.g. through a combination of three missed tests / Whereabouts failures; longitudinal testing; evidence brought forward through an investigation).
The Code was never designed to be a document that stood still. As anti-doping developed, so would the ideas that would form rules, regulations and policies in the future. Following the experience gained in the application of the 2004 Code WADA initiated a consultation process in 2006 to review and fine-tuning the Code. The review process was a fully collaborative process that involved the whole anti-doping community, all of whom sought an enhanced Code that would benefit athletes around the world.
After three phases and the publication of several preliminary drafts, the revised Code was unanimously adopted by WADA’s Foundation Board and endorsed by the 1,500 delegates present on 17 November 2007 at the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport in Madrid, Spain. The revisions to the Code took effect on 1 January 2009.
The revision process for the 2015 Code began at the end of 2011 and, following three phases of consultation over a two-year period, and with 2,000 changes submitted, the revised Code was unanimously approved on 15 November 2013 at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The review process for the revised Code has resulted in stronger, more robust tool that will protect the rights of the clean athlete worldwide.
To date, more than 660 sport organizations have accepted the World Anti-Doping Code. These organizations include the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), all Olympic Sport International Federations (IFs) and all IOC-recognized IFs, National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, National Anti-Doping Organizations.
Sports are required to undertake three steps in order to be fully compliant with the Code: acceptance, implementation, and enforcement.
Code acceptance means that a sport organization agrees to the principles of the Code and agrees to implement and comply with the Code.
Once a sport organization accepts the Code, it must then implement it. The implementation of the Code is the process that an anti-doping organization goes through to amend its rules and policies so that all mandatory articles and principles of the Code are included.
Finally, enforcement refers to the sport organization actually enforcing its amended rules and policies in accordance with the Code.
WADA monitors implementation of and compliance with the Code.
Sport organizations within the following categories have accepted the Code:
- Olympic Movement
- Government-Funded Organizations
- Outside the Olympic Movement