14th March 2017

Concerns grow about effect of WADA’s Graded Sanctioning System on ADOs

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) new Graded Sanctioning System for World Anti-Doping Code signatories will apply to all instances of non-compliance, confirmed Jonathan Taylor, head of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC) at the WADA Symposium in Lausanne this week. This means that anti-doping organisations (ADOs) could face sanctions for trivial matters such as not publishing a statistical annual report detailing their doping control activities, as required by Article 14.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code.

It also prompted concerns that a strict requirement for compliance may put extra pressure on the budgets of some of the world’s smaller and less well-funded ADOs. For example, the World Transplant Games Federation will have a very different budget from that of the International Olympic Committee (IOC); the National Olympic Committee of Angola will have a different budget from that of the US Olympic Committee; and Cameroon’s national anti-doping organisation (OCALUDS) will have a smaller budget than that of the UK and US Anti-Doping Agencies. Yet all are Code signatories.

WADA has been under pressure to effectively punish signatories who are not compliant with its World Anti-Doping Code since its two Independent Commission and two Independent Person reports outlined how a systemic doping system had operated in Russia. At the Tackling Doping in Sport conference in London last week, IOC Athlete’s Commission member, Adam Pengilly, criticised the “completely ridiculous” situation whereby there is no sanctioning regime in place for ADOs, yet athletes face a four year ban as a starting point.

WADAsymposiumComplianceCodeWADA initially proposed its Graded Sanctioning System for ADOs at its Glasgow Foundation Board meeting in November. Taylor said that following a CRC meeting at the WADA Symposium this week, firm proposals on how the System will work would be submitted to the WADA Executive Committee meeting in May. Taylor said that under the proposals, those deemed non-compliant with the Code would be “given time” to address that non-compliance. Approximately 80% of 170 respondents agreed that an International Standard for Compliance should be developed, to sit alongside WADA’s five existing international standards. Asked if Code signatory non-compliance could mean exclusion from sport, WADA’s Deputy Director General Rob Koehler said: “We don’t want history to repeat itself”.

WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie, recognised that a requirement for strict compliance may prove unfair on some of the world’s smaller ADOs. “You point out an obvious problem, to which I do not have a complete answer today”, he said. “I know that in my country, a very good national anti-doping organisation is constantly under financial pressure because again, they are asked to do more and more every year with effectively the same resources. If you look at NADOs across the world, they come in different sizes, different abilities and have different revenues. Some are very well resourced and are capable of doing whatever they should be doing. Others are less so. There are some pretty good NADOs who in my view are becoming under-resourced. Then there’s a huge part of the world which in many ways is picked up by the regional anti-doping organisations [RADOs]. Quite honestly, to get them to deliver the kind of statistics that you might require, then yes, that is a challenge. We have yet to go through the exercise of saying if we have any spare resources, is that where we should allocate it? The business is entirely a question of priorities.”

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