A review of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and its associated International Standards, as well as compliance and capturing athletes’ views were among the main themes at the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) 15th Annual Symposium held this week in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The WADA Symposium, which is the leading fixture on the anti-doping calendar, gathered close to 900 delegates from the global anti-doping community for two days of presentations, interviews, panel discussions, practical workshops and networking sessions. Athlete representatives, International Sports Federations, government representatives, National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations, Major Event Organisers, WADA-accredited laboratories and Athlete Passport Management Units, as well as international media and other stakeholders, gathered on 13 and 14 March under the theme “Towards 2021 – Navigating the Future Together”.
2021 will be the year when the latest revised and updated Code comes into effect and the world’s anti-doping stakeholders are currently finalising the document in time for its ratification at the fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport, which will take place in November in Katowice, Poland. In addition, the Code’s various International Standards, including those related to results management, education, compliance, testing and investigations, therapeutic use exemptions, laboratories and privacy protection were discussed at length during the Symposium.
Athletes were well represented during the conference. In particular, around 75 athlete leaders gathered from around the world for a one-and-a-half-day session for them and their representatives. The session, which was hosted by WADA’s Athlete Committee, for the first time as part of the Agency’s Annual Symposium, reinforced the importance of athletes’ involvement in clean sport. Specifically, the session addressed topics such as increased athlete representation within WADA’s governance structure, the impact the proposed changes in the 2021 draft Code may have on athletes, and the upcoming launch of ADAMS Next Gen – the latest revamped and improved version of the system.
The International Floorball Federation was represented by both IFF staff and IFF Athletes’ Commission when IFF ATC member Agata Plechan and IFF Communications & Anti-Doping Manager Merita Bruun attended the Symposium.
– I had the pleasure to participate in the 2019 WADA Annual Symposium that included athletes sessions hosted by the WADA’s Athletes Committee. More than 70 athletes and athlete representatives from around the world gathered to discuss current issues and priorities of WADA. During one and a half day session, we had a chance to discuss, ask questions and brainstrom about the topics such as the increase of athlete representation within WADA, the changes in the 2021 draft Code, the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights and more. Representatives from the Athlete Commission of the Japan Anti-Doping Angency introduced their programme called Play True 2020 that aims to create a better society through the values of sport and to protect the right of an athlete to participate in clean sport. The feeling of being gathered by people who truly care about clean sport in the world was fantastic, says Agata Plechan and continues:
– It was a huge honour to represent the International Floorball Federation and our Athletes’ Commission during this symposium. I came back home with refreshed and new knowledge about the anti-doping trends and developments. I have to admit that the presence of floorball during this kind of events is well appreciatied and more and more people is aware about the exitstence of floorball in the world, Agata Plechan concludes.
A Symposium highlight came as WADA’s Athlete Committee members Beckie Scott (Chair) and Ben Sandford gave an update in plenary session on the progress of the development of the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights, a topic that was also discussed at length during the athlete session.
The keynote address by WADA President Sir Craig Reedie on day one, entitled “Unity Will Be Our Strength”, set the tone for the Symposium as he reflected on the Russian doping scandal and on the progress made since the Executive Committee (ExCo) decision in September 2018 to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) as compliant with the Code. Sir Craig noted that the all-important data recovered from the Moscow Laboratory in January this year, once authenticated, would be used to bring more cheats to justice for the good of clean sport while exonerating others. He also pointed out that the Russian scandal had prompted the establishment of new priorities and led to significant changes that had already equipped the Agency to better navigate situations of non-compliance with the Code, including the coming into force on 1 April 2018 of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), which has considerably strengthened WADA’s legal framework around cases of non-compliance.
WADA Director General, Olivier Niggli, took delegates through WADA’s strategic priorities, which in addition to those outlined by Sir Craig, included in particular: harmonising Code rules via the 2021 Code Review and simultaneous review of the International Standards; the implementation of wide-ranging governance reforms, increasing scientific and social science research; enhancing education, most notably through the development of an International Standard for Education; capacity building of Anti-Doping Organisations; and the ongoing overhaul of WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS).
The IFF has also actively followed the Code review process and given feedback to the International Standards of Education.
– After the World Conference on Doping in Sport, which will take place in November 2019 we will start preparing for the new Code that will come into force in 2021. As it seems now, the Code will coninue to become more flexible, but at the same time the new International Standards will set clearer directions on how to plan the daily activities. The IFF will for example need to make some adjustments to its test planning and education activities, Merita Bruun informs.