The Executive Committee and the Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have supported the current system of “whereabouts” regulations.
The panels which met in Montreal over the past weekend reviewed the practical implementation of the ‘athletes' whereabouts' requirements by the National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) and International Federations (IFs) and stamped their approval of the current practice.
WADA's new ‘whereabouts' rules, implemented from January 1, 2009, had come in for criticism from world-renowned sportspersons and scrutiny and defiance from a few IFs, notably the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Though it has been saying that a solution to the ‘whereabouts' issue was close, the ICC has so far not implemented the ‘whereabouts' rules, keeping them in abeyance because of stiff opposition from leading Indian cricketers, backed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
WADA stated on Monday that the results of a survey circulated earlier this year to anti-doping organisations showed that Code signatories “overwhelmingly support the principle of whereabouts” and reported successful implementation of the rules.
However, WADA noted that there was some misunderstanding yet within a number of anti-doping organisations as to the purpose of ‘whereabouts' requirements.
‘Whereabouts' rules require elite athletes, named in the international registered testing pool, to communicate their locations to the authorities so that they could be tested, unannounced, any time during the course of a year.
The Indian cricketers have argued that their privacy would be intruded into and some of them have also reportedly stated that their security would be compromised.
The BCCI has also apparently taken the stand that any such arrangement would be in violation of the Indian Constitution and the ICC, till now, has also gone by that view without having sought any clarification from the Union Government which supports the Code.
(The BCCI had not responded to several communications from the National Anti-Doping Agency [NADA] on the topic last year while the latter is still in the process of devising an effective ‘whereabouts' programme.)
WADA stated that the review of the Code was an ongoing practice and was aimed at assessing how the signatories had enforced the ‘whereabouts' requirements and how they had exercised their discretion in the management of registered testing pools. WADA President John Fahey said that ‘whereabouts' regulations must be used by anti-doping organisations to design and implement truly effective testing programmes targeting top level athletes, “not just to systematically receive information from disproportionately high or low numbers of athletes that they will then not use.”
He said a working group would continue to consult with athletes and Code signatories and would present “potential recommendations” for practical improvements at the November meetings of WADA's Executive Committee and Foundation Board.
The Executive Committee endorsed on Saturday the approval of non-WADA accredited laboratories for blood analysis to support the Athlete Biological Passport Programme.
The Executive Committee also approved protocols to further foster cooperation between anti-doping organisations in the doping control process.