WADA to revise Anti-Doping Code

The Executive Committee and Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will meet...

The Executive Committee and Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will meet respectively on Sunday, November 19, and Monday, November 20, 2006, in Montreal, Canada, to discuss the working draft revision of the World Anti-Doping Code. The product of this first of three consultation phases will be reviewed by its stakeholders (athletes, national Olympic committees, international federations, governments, laboratories and international agencies) by January 2007 for the second consultation phase. The Code review will then culminate at the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport, held by WADA in partnership with the Government of Spain from November 15-17, 2007, in Madrid, Spain.

On Wednesday, November 15, WADA president Richard W. Pound confirmed in a press conference that the International Association of Athletics Federations had proposed doubling the standard penalty for a serious doping violation from a two-year to a four-year suspension. "That is a suggestion that has come forward, and it will be considered by the Review Committee," Pound said. "I'm not quite sure what decision will be made on that, but the consensus will be reflected in the draft code that we send out shortly after our meeting."

Pound also said that the current testing procedure of having both an A and a B sample was being discussed, possibly resulting in the suppression of the counter-analysis. "There is a body of thought amongst our stakeholders that the A (sample) should be enough; and there is another body of thought amongst others that the B provides a protection in the very few cases where the A might be improperly analysed," he said.

While Pound did not take a stand on the matter personally, he said that there would have been no recommendation for a change of the anti-doping code unless there was evidence that the tests could be relied on. "The science has improved over the years, which is one of the reasons why some people think that you don't need this anymore. When that system was first put into effect, the science wasn't as good as it is now. But it's far too soon to say that there will be a change, and WADA itself doesn't have a view on it. We reflect the consensus of our stakeholders."

On the issue of the Floyd Landis case and the alleged external intrusion on the main server of the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory, Pound argued that "For me, the real problem is the activities of one or more hackers who entered into the system without permission, possibly against the law. We have to wait for the result of the investigation. There will be a hearing in January, where arbitrators will consider all the evidence."

Asked what he thought about the administrative mistake made by the laboratory with regard to the labelling of Landis' B sample, Pound replied, "The code contemplates minor errors that don't affect the ability and the analysis (of the lab). Ideally, of course, you don't want there to be any errors, administrative or otherwise, that may get corrected in the process. We just have to wait and see. This is kind of an unusual situation. It's entirely possible that a lot of this information has been illegally obtained, and that there may be consequences arising from that."

At the meetings on Sunday and Monday, WADA will also elect a new vice-president to succeed to Denmark's Brian Mikkelsen, with French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour being the only candidate to the position. Lamour will be one of the possible candidates to replace Pound when his term expires next year.

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