Key changes to the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revised the World Anti-Doping Code in conjunction with anti-doping organisations around the world. It was agreed to at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg in 2013.

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Below is a summary of key changes included in the new Code:

New rules

There are now ten Anti-Doping Rule Violations.  The revised code introduces two new violations:

  • Prohibited Association: associating with a person such as a coach, doctor, physiotherapist etc who has been found guilty of a doping offence
  • Complicity: assisting, encouraging or helping to cover-up a doping offence.

In addition to these two new rules, there are seven key areas of change.  These are:

1.    Sanctions

Tougher penalties have been introduced, including:

  • Four-year bans for those who intentionally dope
  • Four-year bans for those who refuse to provide a sample.

The criteria which will be considered in determining the length of a ban includes:

  • the substance or method involved
  • the type of anti-doping rule breached
  • whether it’s first or second offence
  • the degree of fault.

Athletes who return a positive test after taking a contaminated substance such as a supplement and are able to demonstrate “no significant fault” may face lesser bans which could range from a reprimand to a two-year ban.

Changes to the whereabouts programme mean that athletes will only face sanctions if they accumulate three whereabouts failures in 12 months, rather than 18 month.

2.    Investigations

There is recognition that testing alone cannot catch drug cheats and that investigative powers are required for anti-doping organisations to be more effective.  This involves the greater use of intelligence gathering and risk analysis to determine the timing and frequency of testing.

The statute of limitations has been extended to ten years which means that an allegation of doping can be investigated up to ten years after it has been committed.

3.    Athlete Support Personnel

Under the revised Code, athlete support personnel are now explicitly bound by the new anti-doping rules.    In particular, athlete support personnel:

  • will be investigated if an anti-doping violation involves a minor or if they have provided support to more than one athlete who has committed a violation
  • should report any doping activity to Drug Free Sport NZ
  • advise Drug Free Sport NZ and their National Sports Organisation or International Federation know if they have committed a doping offence in the past.
  • may not associate with athletes if they are serving a ban.
4.    Testing and Sample Analysis

The revised Code allows for a sport by sport approach to anti-doping with the recognition that identifying specific substances and methods associated with specific sports will enable a better testing regime.

5.    Balancing the interests of International Federations and Anti-Doping Agencies

The revised Code seeks to balance the responsibilities of International Federations and National Anti-Doping organisations.  Make sure you’re aware of the different requirements for  “international” and “national” level athletes, especially if you need to take medication for health reasons.
Click here for more information on what defines a national or international level athlete.

6.    Human Rights

The revised Code recognises the principles of human rights and includes changes around the public disclosure of Anti-Doping Rule Violations, particularly for minors or athletes not competing at national or international level.

7.    A clearer, shorter code

The Code has been revised to try and eliminate loopholes.  It is also shorter and less technical.
For more details about the revised World Anti-Doping Code, check out this edition of WADA’s Play True magazine.

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