The revised draft World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2015 code has advocated smart test distribution planning and the importance of investigations, while bringing in more clarity about roles of various agencies in the fight against doping.
The draft underlines the necessity of a sound test distribution planning and says that WADA, in consultation with international federations and other anti-doping organisations, will adopt a technical document that establishes by means of a risk assessment which prohibited substances and/or prohibited methods are most likely to be abused in particular sports or disciplines.
It requires the anti-doping organisations to gather anti-doping intelligence from available sources and develop an intelligent and proportionate test distribution plan according to priorities.
The revised draft code has laid out some stringent criteria for the return of a retired athlete to competition.
The draft code assigns more responsibility to national and international federations and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs).
It expects the National federations to report any information suggesting or relating to an anti-doping rule violation to its National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) and cooperate with investigations conducted by any anti-doping organisation.
It requires both National and international federations to have disciplinary rules in place to prevent suspect athlete support personnel from operating. The NOCs are expected to work in tandem with these organisations.
Autonomy of NADO
The code suggests that each Government will respect the autonomy of NADO in its country and not interfere in its operational decisions and activities.
Interestingly, in the Indian context, the Union Sports Ministry had forced the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to test boxer Vijender Singh, who was embroiled in a heroin controversy a few months ago.
Going against WADA norms, the National Anti-Doping Laboratory (NDTL) had conducted a full menu test on Vijender’s samples collected in an out-of-competition test. Both NADA and the NDTL continue to be headed by Government officers and their governing bodies are dominated by Sports Ministry officials or other Government officers.
Apart from testing, the revised Code underscores the importance of investigations in curbing doping activities.
In order to minimise confusion, the draft specifies the roles of NADOs, international federations and a major event organisation as far as issuing Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) is concerned.
In case of any dispute, WADA will review a TUE decision. If required, the matter may be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). The code review process will conclude at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg, South Africa, to be held from November 12 to 15.