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New Tougher WADA Compliance Rules Come into Force

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A woman walks into the head office for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on November 9, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo

By Nick Butler |

New World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) compliance standards in which governing bodies can be sanctioned for violating rules have come into force today.

This marks the first time that International Federations and major event organizers can be handed any sort of concrete punishment by WADA rather than just a statement of non-compliance.

A range of “graded, predictable and proportionate sanctions” can be issued for those violating rules ranging from fines to a six-month probation period to the worst case scenario of a suspension.

All sanctions, however, must be awarded by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) rather than WADA directly.

The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS) was introduced in the aftermath of the Russian doping scandal and will theoretically make it easier for action to be taken against bodies like the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) when they break the rules.

A new amendment to the World Anti-Doping Code also stipulates that International Federations and organizers of major events must “accept bids for World Championships and other International Events only from countries where the Government has ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to the UNESCO Convention and the National Olympic Committee and National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) are in compliance with the Code.”

The changes coming into force today do not mean, however, that these bodies will be barred from awarding events to Russia, even though RUSADA remains non-compliant.

This is because WADA have received legal advice that the new rules are only enforceable if they relate to new cases of non-compliance emerging after today.

“The problem is that the application of the new compliance standard, we are advised by our own legal adviser, cannot be made retrospectively,” Sir Craig Reedie told insidethegames at the WADA Symposium in Lausanne last month.

“So it cannot comply with a non-compliant situation which existed before the first of April.

“If, for example, on April 2 we have resolved all of the issues with Russia and then they are non-compliant for a different reason, then it would apply.

“Going forward, if we get to a situation where a country is non-compliant, that would involve a ‘critical non-compliance with aggravating circumstances’…

“And if they were declared non-compliant by the CAS [who are responsible for administering sanctions] then they wouldn’t take part in future major events.”

The existing World Anti-Doping Code does still, though, urge International Federations to “do everything possible” to award World Championships only to countries when the NOC, National Paralympic Committee and NADO are in compliance with the Code.

Many figures in the Olympic Movement remain opposed to WADA have any regulatory power to punish sporting bodies.

It is likely that they insisted on CAS’ sanctioning role.

In practice, though, it appears unlikely that International Federations are in serious danger of being suspended despite the new rules.

Many of these governing bodies are expected to devolve their anti-doping programs the new International Testing Agency over coming months, although they will still retain ultimate responsibility for them.

This will, in theory at least, reduce the likelihood of non-compliance.

One International Federations who would have been at risk of a suspension in recent years is the International Boxing Association (AIBA), who carried out no out-of-competition drugs tests in the whole of 2015 and only one the year in 2014.

Anti-doping is one of several areas where AIBA must prove to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that improvements have been made if boxing is to be allowed to remain on the program at Tokyo 2020.

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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