|Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) held an Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting in Tokyo, Japan, which was graciously hosted by the country’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
The 12-member ExCo is WADA’s ultimate policy-making body and is composed equally of representatives from the Sports Movement and Governments.While the ExCo approved the 2020 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods (List), which will be published before 1 October 2019 and come into effect on 1 January 2020, the full-day meeting primarily focused on other matters and decisions related to World Anti-Doping Code (Code) compliance, the 2021 Code Review process, WADA governance reforms and other topics related to science and medicine – the main ones that are outlined in the summary below.
Reflecting on the day’s events, WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie, said: “I am pleased with the discussions that the Executive Committee had on a number of key matters for the future of WADA and Clean Sport on the whole. The quality of the debate and the involvement of all stakeholders bode well as we head towards the World Conference on Doping in Sport in November; during which, decisions will be taken that will strengthen the global anti-doping program.”
Code Compliance: RUSADA
The ExCo received an update from the Chair of the independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) concerning compliance of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) with the Code.
The ExCo was informed that good progress was being made by WADA’s Intelligence and Investigations Department (I&I) in analyzing the data retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory in January 2019. To date, 47 cases have already been identified and evidentiary packages sent to the relevant International Federations (IFs) as per the process outlined by WADA in July, and several disciplinary proceedings have been commenced by the IFs based on that evidence.
The ExCo was also informed that further investigation, by WADA I&I and independent experts in digital forensics, of the inconsistencies in the Moscow Laboratory data outlined in WADA’s press release dated 2 July 2019 had led WADA to open a formal compliance procedure against RUSADA on 17 September 2019.
Ensuring the authenticity of the Moscow Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and underlying raw data was one of the critical conditions imposed by the ExCo for RUSADA to maintain its compliance with the Code when the ExCo decided to reinstate RUSADA as Code-compliant in September 2018.
The ExCo was advised that WADA had decided to pursue the compliance procedure against RUSADA on a fast-track basis, in accordance with Article 9.5 of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS). RUSADA and the Russian Ministry of Sport have been provided with copies of the reports of WADA I&I and the independent forensic experts that detail the inconsistencies in question and have been given three weeks to provide their comments, together with answers to a list of specific questions.
Once that response has been received and analyzed, WADA I&I and the independent forensic experts will report back to the CRC, so that the CRC is in a position to decide whether to bring a formal recommendation to the ExCo. No fixed timeline can be set for this, as due process must be respected, but the ExCo was assured that WADA is pursuing the matter robustly and as quickly as practicable.
In the meantime, the process of using the remaining data from the Moscow Laboratory and other forms of evidence to bring more cheats to justice continues. The aforementioned 47 cases are unaffected and contained no inconsistencies in the data.
Code Compliance: International Taekwon-Do Federation
The ExCo approved the CRC’s recommendation asserting that the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF Austria) is non-compliant with the Code and proposing appropriate consequences. This Code Signatory organization did not complete WADA’s Code Compliance Questionnaire, which is a critical requirement under the ISCCS, despite multiple WADA reminders and offers of assistance. It will now be formally notified about its non-compliance and will have 21 days to dispute WADA’s assertion of non-compliance.
It should be noted that ITF Austria is not the IF that regulates the sport of Taekwon-Do globally. It was accepted as a Code Signatory before WADA implemented a policy in 2009 to ensure that no organization could become a Signatory if it had a conflict with an existing Signatory. The World Taekwon-Do Federation (WTF) is the Olympic IF for the sport and is not affected by this assertion of non-compliance.
The ExCo received a detailed progress report on the implementation and timing of WADA’s wide-ranging governance reforms, which were approved by the Foundation Board (Board) in November 2018 and, regarding which, an implementation plan was laid out in May 2019.
As regards the composition of the inaugural five-person Nominations Committee, which is set to play a key role over the coming months in shaping WADA’s governance, individuals were proposed by an independent consultancy firm and approved by the ExCo. The names of those individuals will be publicly announced shortly once they have been officially informed.
The role of the Nominations Committee will be to ensure that the right people, in terms of skills and independence, serve in senior governance roles within WADA. In particular, the Committee will recommend appropriate individuals to chair WADA’s Standing Committees as well as two new independent members of the ExCo next year. The ExCo also approved the terms of reference for the Agency’s five Standing Committees as well as the corresponding Chair profiles, which will be published this week as part of a public call for interest for the Standing Committee Chair vacancies for 2020.
2021 Code and International Standards
The ExCo received a detailed progress report regarding the latest drafts of the 2021 Code and related International Standards, which have been subject of a two-year, three-phase, stakeholder consultation.
The ExCo provided comments on the latest drafts and was advised that some minor amendments will be made before publishing the final drafts of the revised Code and Standards – as well as the two new proposed Standards (covering education and results management) –
mid-October in preparation for these documents being adopted at the World Conference on Doping in Sport, which will take place in Katowice, Poland, from 5-7 November. The revised Code and Standards and the two new Standards will enter into force on 1 January 2021.
Athlete Committee Chair Report
The ExCo received an update from the Chair of WADA’s Athlete Committee concerning a number of projects that they are leading. These include the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights that they initiated in 2017; the establishment of an ombudsperson resource for anti-doping within WADA; and the matter of enhanced athlete representation within WADA’s governance structure.
The ExCo made a number of suggestions related to the three projects, which the Athlete Committee will address in the course of its work over the coming weeks.
Science and Medicine
Beyond approval of the 2020 List, which contains minor changes from the current 2019 List, the ExCo approved funding recommendations for research proposals for WADA’s 2019 call for scientific research grants. A total of 19 projects were selected for funding amounting to USD 1,946,283, with more than half (USD 1,087,693) coming from WADA’s Special Research Fund and the remainder from the 2019 WADA Research Project.
In addition, the ExCo approved funding of USD 250,000 for one research proposal on artificial intelligence (AI), with the funding coming from the Agency’s Special Research Fund. This project – which is the third being funded by WADA in relation to AI – is covered by the agreement signed between the Agency and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec in May 2018 specifically to fund research in a number of areas including AI.
Further to the adoption in September 2018 of a new Technical Document for Athlete Passport Management Units (APMUs) that came into effect on 1 March 2019, the ExCo granted approval to ten WADA-accredited laboratories to manage APMUs. This APMU status, which confirms that these laboratories fulfill a number of quality and independence criteria, will allow the laboratories in question to drive essential anti-doping activities in relation to the Athlete Biological Passport program. The relevant laboratories are: Barcelona, Spain; Cologne, Germany; Ghent, Belgium; Lausanne, Switzerland; Oslo, Norway; Paris, France; Seibersdorf, Austria; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; and Warsaw, Poland.
Revised Technical Document for Sport Specific Analysis (TDSSA)
A revised TDSSA was approved by the ExCo following a comprehensive consultation process with stakeholders. The document, which will come into effect 1 January 2020, will provide Anti-Doping Organizations with more flexibility in its implementation while continuing to ensure that minimum levels of analysis for specific prohibited substances within the scope of the TDSSA are harmonized globally across sports and disciplines. The revised TDSSA will be published on 1 October.