Ethics and culture

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. There are many threats to the integrity of the sector that have seen individuals, and indeed entire organisations, succumb and compromise their behaviour and the reputation of their sport. Here, we will go into some of those in detail as well as introducing other areas of concern for the sector going into the future.

Anti-doping movement

Since the Russia doping scandal, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the global anti-doping movement has been under sustained pressure to become more accountable and reform.

As a result of this, WADA published a paper, Progress of the Anti-Doping System in Light of the Russian Doping Crisis, which was last updated on 22 January 2019.

WADA’s views of the main issues were:

  1. The cheating in Russia was encouraged, organised, and protected, and thus not detected.
  2. The Moscow and Sochi Laboratories were institutionally controlled, protected and thus the cheating was not detected.
  3. There were no proper channels for whistleblowers to provide information regarding alleged Anti-doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) under the World Anti-Doping Code; non-compliance violations under the Code; or any act or omission that could undermine the fight against doping in sport.
  4. Upon receipt of such information, WADA had no power to investigate until it was accorded those powers within the 2015 Code (which came into force on 1 January 2015).
  5. Following WADA’s independent investigations, there were no defined sanctions agreed by all stakeholders that could be applied and no clear delineation as to which organisations were accountable for applying consequences in relation to outcomes of the investigations.
  6. There was no clear dispute resolution mechanism in place that could have led to a decision being accepted and applied by all anti-doping organisations (ADOs).

Measures WADA has taken to address these issues include:

  • Shifting its focus to ensuring that signatories to the WADA Code have quality antidoping programs in place and, in keeping with strong demand from stakeholders, that their compliance be monitored rigorously. In 2016, WADA initiated development of a certified Code compliance monitoring program that was expanded in 2017. The programme, which represents the most thorough review of anti-doping rules and programmes that has ever taken place, aims to reinforce athlete and public confidence in the standard of ADOs worldwide.
  • In 2017, WADA put in place a working group to review the accreditation process and the quality control of laboratories. The group’s conclusions were adopted by WADA’s executive committee and board in May 2018, with a clear recommendation for more laboratory audits and proficiency testing to take place.
  • With the launch of in March 2017, and the implementation of a whistleblower policy and program, WADA now has a secure, digital platform through which athletes and others can report alleged ADRVs under the Code; non-compliance violations under the Code or any act or omission that could undermine the fight against doping in sport.
  • In June 2016, WADA appointed Gunter Younger, a former Interpol officer and Head of Cyber Security with the Munich police, to set up and head its Intelligence & Investigations (I&I) Department. Since then, the WADA I&I Department has grown to seven staff, Speak Up! has been put in place and, via a new policy approved in May 2017, independence has been given to the I&I Department from the WADA executive committee board and management to ensure that there would be no political interference with their investigations. The policy dictates that the I&I Department is independently audited annually to ensure full compliance of the work conducted. In addition to managing the day-to-day flow of new information, at the end of 2017, the I&I Department had run one long-term project; 10 sophisticated cases; one global operation with Interpol; and had 214 registered cases with the majority having been sent to ADOs for follow up.
  • As a result of the disjointed responses to the Russian Doping Crisis, as well as calls from many in the antidoping community – in particular athletes – to hold ADOs to a higher degree of accountability, the WADA board approved the development of the new International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), which came into force on 1 April 2018.
  • Implementation of the ISCCS is one of the key legal tools that will avoid the issue where no clear dispute resolution mechanism was in place that could have led to a decision being accepted and applied by all ADOs. The ISCCS creates significantly more legal certainty around roles and responsibilities, sanctions, and mechanisms for independent decisions on these questions. Unless all parties agree, the Court of Arbitration for Sport is the ultimate authority that decides on the appropriate sanctions, thus taking away any political component to these decisions.

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