17 August 2015

WADA Independent Commission to conduct two investigations

The Independent Commission appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has resolved to conduct two investigations into allegations of doping made on German television. The first, which has already begun and is due to be completed by the end of the year, will only investigate allegations made in the December 2014 ARD documentary, ‘Geheimsache Doping – Wie Russland seine Sieger machete’. The second will examine the new allegations made in the 1 August ‘Geheimsache Doping – Im Schattenreich der Leichtathletik’ documentary, which included video evidence appearing to show Russian and Kenyan athletes doping, and also analysed a database of 12,000 blood tests performed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on 5,000 athletes from 2001-2012.

‘The IC has resolved to try to release its report on the original mandate as planned prior to the most recent revelations’, read a 14 August WADA statement. ‘It remains to be seen whether the allegations contained in the new documentary may result in findings that will support, or contradict, those derived from the original investigation by the IC.’

The Independent Commission said that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had already agreed to cooperate with it on the second investigation, which it said would be dealt with ‘as expeditiously as possible’. It announced that it would be investigating how the IAAF data ended up in the public domain on 7 August 2015.

‘No test data derived from the IAAF database prior to the adoption of the ABP in 2009 can be considered to be proof of doping’, read WADA’s 14 August statement. ‘It would be reckless, if not libellous, to make such an allegation. The reported values may be suspicious and lead to targeted testing of the athletes involved, but nothing more could be done with such information.’

The IAAF has known that Hajo Seppelt, the German investigative journalist behind the ARD documentaries, has held the IAAF data for some time. In March the Sports Integrity Initiative reported on how the IAAF sent a letter to Seppelt asking him not to reveal the medical data. In December last year, the Daily Telegraph obtained a copy of the data.

The Independent Commission confirmed that it had already started work on its second investigation, and that this investigation would include the following elements:

‘1. Obtain a copy of the leaked database and confirmation by IAAF that it is – or was – all or part of an IAAF database.
2. Obtain a copy of the report prepared by the Australian scientists.
3. Obtain from WADA the precise dates of the progress toward adoption of the ABP and the applicable protocols for bringing anti-doping rule violation charges based on the ABP, as well as any statements by WADA (or others) regarding inappropriateness of the use of suspicious or abnormal test results as proof of doping.
4. Verify what portions of the IAAF database have been recorded in ADAMS.
5. Identify suspicious test results that should have led to targeted testing.
6. Verify the actions of IAAF in dealing with such suspicious test results, including the timeliness and frequency of any subsequent actions, by examining the IAAF records on a case-by-case basis, and report accordingly to the IC.
7. Provide timelines established by the foregoing verifications [e.g., date of test, date of receipt of results, date of decision to target test, date(s) of targeted testing, date(s) results were received, date(s) of decision to proceed with sanctioning process, date(s) of process and decision(s) to sanction, date(s) of any provisional sanction].
8. Verify the actions of WADA regarding IAAF follow-up on suspicious values in the test results, while bearing in mind that the relevant ADO with full responsibility is the IAAF, not WADA, which has a primary role as monitor, rather than principal in matters of doping in Athletics, and report accordingly to the IC.
9. Determine to what extent, if any, were IAAF actions the result of WADA’s actions.  Determine what internal processes were in place at WADA to coordinate follow-up with IAAF and other ADOs in relation to suspicious test results?
10. Identify any athletes having abnormal values in test results who were later discovered to have doped as a result of targeted testing, with timelines and outcomes.
11. Draw attention to any mis-statements made in media releases and other statements.
12. Make appropriate findings and recommendations.’

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