Code Review

Historical Background

The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) is the fundamental and universal document upon which the World Anti-Doping Program is based. Its purpose is to advance the anti-doping effort through universal harmonization of core anti-doping elements. It is intended to be specific enough to achieve complete harmonization on issues where uniformity is required, yet general enough in other areas to permit flexibility on how agreed-upon anti-doping principles are implemented.

The Code has been drafted giving consideration to the principles of proportionality and human rights. In January 2003, the first Code was approved in Copenhagen, during the Second World Conference on Doping in Sport. At the time, WADA committed to ensuring that the Code would be a living document, subject to periodic review. In keeping with that commitment, in February 2006 and November 2011, WADA's Foundation Board initiated Review Processes with amendments having been incorporated within the 2009 and 2015 Codes respectively.



In December 2017, WADA initiated a two-year, three phase, Code Review Process, which involved extensive stakeholder consultation regarding the Code, the International Standards and the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Rights Act (Act).

The Code Review Process was run under the watchful eye of WADA’s Legal Department, which coordinated the work of all Code and Standards drafting teams, ensuring consistency and harmonization among the different documents.

Following the review process, stakeholders were invited to intervene publicly on the proposed Code and Standards during WADA’s fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport in November 2019 – an opportunity that was taken up by over 70 stakeholder organizations – before the Code and the full suite of Standards were approved by the Board and ExCo respectively on 7 November. The revised 2021 Code and Standards, as well as the Act, took effect on 1 January 2021.

WADA is confident that the Review Process was extensive and transparent; and, is grateful to all stakeholders for their high-quality feedback and to the drafting teams that delivered on this momentous effort, which will result in greater protection for clean sport.



The following versions of the Code and International Standards came into force on 1 January 2021:

  • 2021 World Anti-Doping Code
  • International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS)
  • International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI)
  • International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE)
  • International Standard for Education (ISE) (New)
  • International Standard for Results Management (ISRM) (New)
  • International Standard for Laboratories (ISL)
  • International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information (ISPPPI)

The 2021 International Standard for the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods (Prohibited List), which is reviewed annually via a separate stakeholder process, was published by WADA on 30 September 2020 and entered into force along with the 2021 Code and full suite of International Standards on 1 January 2021.


As it has done in the past, the Agency published a Legal Opinion on the 2021 Code by Judge Jean-Paul Costa, former President of the European Court of Human Rights. Judge Costa rendered his opinion on the 2021 Code in his capacity as consultant to WADA. His opinion refers to the compatibility of proposed new measures in the Code with international standards relating to human rights and his comments were incorporated within the proposed draft. 

WADA’s 2021 Code Implementation Stakeholder Support Program (CISP)

On 4 May 2020, WADA launched its 2021 Code Implementation Stakeholder Support Program (CISP) which was developed to help Signatories prepare for implementation of the 2021 Code and International Standards. The CISP resources are available on the Agency’s Anti-Doping eLearning Platform (ADEL) and include:

  • Factsheets;
  • Video tutorials;
  • Checklists;
  • Presentations; and
  • Live and pre-recorded webinars.

These resources are focused on understanding the main changes and what Signatories can do to implement the 2021 Code and International Standards.

Should you have any questions related to the CISP, please contact:



In keeping with WADA’s sustainability efforts, in recent years the Agency has minimized print in favor of making its publications available digitally. However, given the importance of the Code, which will live for a number of years and be used on a daily basis by the Agency’s stakeholders, in the coming months, we will be:

  • Mailing out a limited quantity of printed English or French copies to Code Signatories and some other stakeholders;
  • Making English and French print-ready versions available on our website for stakeholders to print locally; and
  • Putting a mechanism in place for stakeholders and others that may wish to purchase printed copies in English and/or French.