|Formation||November 10, 1999|
|Official language||English, French|
|Affiliations||International Olympic Committee|
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA; French: Agence mondiale antidopage) is an independent foundation created through a collective initiative led by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was set up on November 10, 1999 in Lausanne, Switzerland, as a result of what was called the "Declaration of Lausanne", to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sport. Since 2002, the organization's headquarters have been located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Lausanne office became the regional office for Europe. Other regional offices have been established in Africa, Asia/Oceania and Latin America. WADA is responsible for the World Anti-Doping Code, adopted by more than 600 sports organizations, including international sports federations, national anti-doping organizations, the IOC, and the International Paralympic Committee. As of 2014[update], its president is Sir Craig Reedie.
Initially funded by the International Olympic Committee, WADA now receives half of its budgetary requirements from them, with the other half coming from various governments throughout the world. Its governing bodies are also composed in equal parts by representatives from the sporting movement (including athletes) and governments of the world. The agency's key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code.
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The Code is a document aiming to harmonize anti-doping regulations in all sports and countries. It embodies an annual list of prohibited substances and methods that sportspersons are not allowed to take or use.
In 2004, the World Anti-Doping Code was implemented by sports organizations prior to the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. In November 2007, more than 600 sports organizations (international sports federations, national anti-doping organizations, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, and a number of professional leagues in various countries of the world) unanimously adopted a revised Code at the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport, to take effect on 1 January 2009.
In 2013, further amendments to the Code were approved, doubling the sanction for a first offence where intentional doping is established, but allowing for more lenient sanctions for inadvertent rule violations or for athletes co-operating with anti-doping agencies. The updated code was scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2015.
The Anti-Doping Convention of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg was opened for signature on 16 December 1989 as the first multilateral legal standard in this field. It has been signed by 48 states including the Council of Europe and non-member states Australia, Belarus, Canada and Tunisia. The Convention is open for signature by other non-European states. It does not claim to create a universal model of anti-doping, but sets a certain number of common standards and regulations requiring Parties to adopt legislative, financial, technical, educational and other measures. In this sense the Convention strives for the same general aims as WADA, without being directly linked to it.
The main objective of the Convention is to promote the national and international harmonization of the measures to be taken against doping. Furthermore the Convention describes the mission of the Monitoring Group set up in order to monitor its implementation and periodically re-examine the list of prohibited substances and methods which can be found in an annex to the main text. An additional protocol to the Convention entered into force on 1 April 2004 with the aim of ensuring the mutual recognition of anti-doping controls and of reinforcing the implementation of the Convention using a binding control system.
Given that many governments cannot be legally bound by a non-governmental document such as the World Anti-Doping Code, they are implementing it by individually ratifying the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport, the first global international treaty against doping in sport, which was unanimously adopted by 191 governments at the UNESCO General Conference in October 2005 and came into force in February 2007. As of June 2013, 174 states have ratified the Convention, setting a UNESCO record in terms of speed.
The UNESCO Convention is a practical and legally binding tool enabling governments to align domestic policy with the World Anti-Doping Code, thus harmonizing the rules governing anti-doping in sport. It formalizes governments' commitment to the fight against doping in sport, including by facilitating doping controls and supporting national testing programs; encouraging the establishment of "best practice" in the labelling, marketing, and distribution of products that might contain prohibited substances; withholding financial support from those who engage in or support doping; taking measures against manufacturing and trafficking; encouraging the establishment of codes of conduct for professions relating to sport and anti-doping; and funding education and research.
Professor Donald A. Berry has argued that the closed systems used by anti-doping agencies do not allow statistical validation of the tests. This argument was seconded by an accompanying editorial in the journal Nature (August 7, 2008). The anti-doping community and scientists familiar with anti-doping work rejected these arguments. On October 30, 2008, Nature (Vol 455) published a Letter from WADA to the Editor countering Berry's article.
The current anti-doping code revised the Whereabouts system in place since 2004, now requiring athletes to select one hour per day, seven days a week to be available for no-notice drugs tests.
A significant number of sports organizations, governments, athletes, and other individuals and organizations have expressed support for the new Whereabouts requirements. The International Association of Athletics Federations and UK Sport are two of the most vocal supporters of this rule. Both FIFA and UEFA have criticized the system citing privacy concerns, as has the BCCI.
WADA has also published a Q&A explaining the rationale for the change.
It was revealed in May 2011 that the National Football League, which had previously resisted more stringent drug testing may allow WADA to conduct its drug tests instead of doing it in house. This could lead the way to testing for HGH, which had previously been without testing in professional American football. However, as of September 2013[update], cooperation was stalemated because "blood-testing for human growth hormone in the NFL had been delayed by the players' union, who had tried 'every possible way to avoid testing'".