Today, a revised World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards have been agreed at the World Conference on Doping in Sport. These will come into effect on 1 January 2015.
This has been the result of over 18 months of active consultation by the World Anti-Doping Agency and signals a further evolution of the world-wide framework that guides the fight against doping.
Key changes to the new Code are outlined below:
Article 2: Anti-Doping Rule Violations
Some significant changes are made to the way in which anti-doping rule violations will be prosecuted.
- Whereabouts violations will now be administered if three missed tests (and/or filing failures, such as supplying incorrect whereabouts information) take place within the same 12 month period (replacing 18 months, which is the current period). (Article 2.4)
- Involvement in an anti-doping rule violation committed by another person – such as helping to cover up that violation – will be sanctioned with a ban of up to four years. Helping someone commit a doping violation, or avoid detection, will be sanctioned in the same way as that violation. (Article 2.9)
- Associating with a banned person such as a coach - or dealing with a person such as a doctor who has been found guilty of a criminal or disciplinary offence equivalent to a doping violation (such as providing banned substances) - will be sanctioned with a ban of up to two years. Athletes will be warned that they are associating with such a person before any action can be taken, and there are safeguards for athletes who have no choice but to work with such people. (Article 2.10)
Article 5: Testing and Investigations
The Code provisions concerning Testing, Investigations and Analysis have been significantly improved to place the focus on intelligent, collaborative activity.
- The International Standard for Testing – the Code Standard that sets the rules and procedures for the testing process – has been renamed that ‘International Standard for Testing and Investigations’, reflecting the new requirements that all Anti-Doping Organisations use intelligence and information to investigate the full range of anti-doping rule violations in the Code.
- Every Anti-Doping Organisation must adopt a ‘risk-based’ approach to testing, and develop a ‘Test Distribution Plan’ (which is effectively a ‘business plan’ for testing athletes). This in turn is used to determine the amount, frequency and location of testing. Every Anti-Doping Organisation must share this plan with WADA. (Article 5.8.1)
- Every Anti-Doping Organisation must have the resources to obtain, assess and handle anti-doping intelligence and information from a variety of sources, including law enforcement, to assist in the development of their Test Distribution Plans. They must also be able to use this intelligence to handle investigations into suspected doping. They must be able to utilise modern anti-doping techniques, such as the blood passport. (Article 5.8.3)
- Anti-Doping Organisations will be able to use their resources efficiently by developing ‘Testing menus’ that focus on specific substances, rather than the full range of substances that Laboratories currently look for when analysing Athlete Samples. (Article 6.4)
Article 10: Sanctions
The Code makes significant changes to the way in which anti-doping rule violations are sanctioned.
- Cheating that involves serious doping substances (such as steroids, growth hormone and EPO) and calculated doping methods (such as blood doping or transfusions) will be sanctioned with a four-year ban. Four-year bans have always been available for these offences (and UKAD has to date secured six four-year bans against serious dopers). (Article 10.2.1)
- The new Code recognises that there can be no advantage gained by failing to cooperate with the testing process – refusing to take a test, evading testing or trying to thwart the testing process will all be sanctioned with bans of up to four years.
- The new Code incentivises early cooperation and information sharing by persons who are accused of committing doping violations. Admitting a violation can be rewarded with a reduced ban, with WADA having the final say on any reduction. Anti-Doping Organisations can agree reduced bans in return for the provision of ‘substantial assistance’, that is, information that leads to other doping violations being uncovered. In exceptional cases, WADA will have the power to agree to eliminate a ban in its entirety and offer complete confidentiality in return for substantial assistance. (Article 10.6)
- ‘Limitation periods’, that is, the timeframe within which an Anti-Doping Organisation can charge a person with committing a doping violation, have been increased from eight years to ten years. (Article 17)
Article 20: Responsibilities of Signatories
The Code imposes a number of new responsibilities on Signatories.
- International Federations must ensure that their member organisations share anti-doping related information with their National Anti-Doping Organisations. This is in keeping with the collaborative theme of the Code. (Article 20.3)
- International Federations and National Anti-Doping Organisations must investigate all violations committed by athlete support personnel if those violations involve minors or multiple athletes.
- International Federations and National Anti-Doping Organisations must cooperate fully with any anti-doping investigations initiated by WADA.
- National Anti-Doping Organisations must be operationally independent. (Article 20.5)
In addition, Governments agree to put in place measures to facilitate information and data sharing between Government agencies and the anti-doping authorities. The UK Government has led on this issue via the National Anti-Doping Policy.
Following a comprehensive UK consultation and review of the 2009 Code, UKAD made submissions during the three-phase consultation. An implementation plan has been developed by UKAD staff to roll out any changes to the Code in the 12 months running up to January 2015. The team will work with NGBs and other partners to ensure they are fully supported through any changes to remain compliant with UK National Anti-Doping Policy.