The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA; French: Agence mondiale antidopage, AMA) is a foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee based in Canada to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports. The agency's key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code, whose provisions are enforced by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport. The aims of the Council of Europe Anti-Doping Convention and the United States Anti-Doping Agency are also closely aligned with those of WADA.
The World Anti-Doping Agency is a foundation created through a collective initiative led by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was set up on 10 November 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 sports. 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, its president is Sir Craig Reedie.
Initially funded by the International Olympic Committee, WADA receives half of its budgetary requirements from them, with the other half coming from various national governments. 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.
The highest decision-making authority in WADA is the 38-member foundation board, which is comprised equally of IOC representatives and representatives of national governments. The Foundation Board appoints the agency's president. Most day-to-day management is delegated to a 12-member executive committee, membership of which is also split equally between the IOC and governments. There also exist several sub-committees with narrower remits, including a Finance and Administration Committee and an Athlete Committee peopled by athletes.
WADA is an international organisation. It delegates work in individual countries to Regional and National Anti-Doping Organizations (RADOs and NADOs) and mandates that these organisations are compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. WADA also accredits around 30 laboratories to perform the required scientific analysis for doping control.
World Anti-Doping Code
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 came into effect on 1 January 2015.
Council of Europe Anti-Doping Convention
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.
UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport
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 had 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 (7 August 2008). The anti-doping community and scientists familiar with anti-doping work rejected these arguments. On 30 October 2008, Nature (Vol 455) published a letter to the editor from WADA countering Berry's article. However, there has been at least one case where the development of statistical decision limit used by WADA in HGH use testing was found invalid by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The anti-doping code revised the whereabouts system in place since 2004, under which, as of 2014, athletes are required to select one hour per day, seven days a week to be available for no-notice drugs tests.
This was unsuccessfully challenged at law in 2009 by Sporta, the Belgian sports union, arguing that the system violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights; and by FIFPro, the international umbrella group of football players' unions, basing its case on data protection and employment law.
A significant number of sports organizations, governments, athletes, and other individuals and organizations have expressed support for the "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 published a Q&A explaining the rationale for the change.
National Football League
It was revealed in May 2011 that the American National Football League (NFL), 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, cooperation was stalemated because "blood-testing for human growth hormone in the NFL had been delayed by the NFL's players union, who had tried 'every possible way to avoid testing'".
In August 2016, the World Anti-Doping Agency reported the receipt of phishing emails sent to users of its database claiming to be official WADA communications requesting their login details. After reviewing the two domains provided by WADA, it was found that the websites' registration and hosting information were consistent with the Russian hacking group Fancy Bear. According to WADA, some of the data the hackers released had been forged.
Due to evidence of widespread doping by Russian athletes, WADA recommended that Russian athletes be barred from participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics. Analysts said they believed the hack was in part an act of retaliation against whistleblowing Russian athlete Yuliya Stepanova, whose personal information was released in the breach. In August 2016, WADA revealed that their systems had been breached, explaining that hackers from Fancy Bear had used an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-created account to gain access to their Anti-doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database. The hackers then used the website fancybear.net to leak what they said were the Olympic drug testing files of several athletes who had received therapeutic use exemptions, including gymnast Simone Biles, tennis players Venus and Serena Williams and basketball player Elena Delle Donne. The hackers honed in on athletes who had been granted exemptions by WADA for various reasons. Subsequent leaks included athletes from many other countries.
In 2016, Professor Richard McLaren, an independent investigator working on behalf of WADA published a second part of his report (first part was published in July 2016) showing that more than 1,000 Russians athletes in over 30 sports were involved in or benefited from state-sponsored doping between 2011 and 2015. As a result of the report, many Russian athletes were barred from participating in the 2018 winter Olympics. Despite widely accepted evidence, in 2018 WADA lifted its ban on Russian athletes. The reinstatement was strongly criticized by, among others, Russian whistle blower Dr. Grigory Rodechenkov, and his lawyer, James Walden.