Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Proposed WADA Code Update

It's the featured item on the WADA web page, though it may move. The real page of interest is here, with a link to downloadable PDFs, one with change marks, one clean.

The update, as further modified, would not be adopted until the November 2007 WADA conference in Madrid.

We'd advise looking at the marked copy. On first glance, we see that it's 77 pages, which can be a slog...


Section 2.1 extends responsibility from the substance in the athlete's body to presence in the specimen. This seems a regression to us.

It does, however, allow exceptions for use where it is not a PED for the sport in question.

Section 3.2 has a comment that allows them to blow off a negative B sample if they think the A sample was positive by "a reliable means".

Section 3.2.1 adds that the Athlete must prove a significant [added] departure from the ISL, but that it is now to a balance of probability standard, no longer the preponderance of evidence. It is not clear to us if this is a stronger or weaker requirement for the athlete.

Section 3.2.3 adds that adjudication of another case can be used against the athlete.

Section 3.2.4 adds that refusal to answer questions may be used as evidence against the athlete. No pleading the 5th here.

We observe that nothing in section 3 addresses disputes about the tests or the interpretation of their results.

Section 4.2 Says chess cannot allow steroids.

Section 4.4 hashes TUEs extensively.

Section 6.3 attempts to address the LNDD/UCI/Armstrong research problem.

Section 6.5 explicitly adds that ADOs can analyze a sample as much as they like until they get the answer they want, and that they've always had this discretion.

Section 10.4 seems to suggest it's OK to smoke dope if you are a snowboarder, because it's not performance enhancing. It'll help if you declare it on your doping control form.

Section 10.8.1 adds that the ADO gets any forfeited prize money that is not redistributed to participants.

Section 10.10.1 tries to close places banned athletes may compete, even if they are not sanctioned/signatory events.

Section 10.12 adds the possibility of fines.

Section 13.1.1 says WADA can always appeal directly to CAS, bypassing ADO process.

Section 14.2 says no disclosure of names, unless the athlete or his team blabs. There's no described sanction for violation, and it doesn't help if team rules require an internal suspension. Then all bets are off.

Section 19.2 does nothing to provoke public release of research for review; it is still a closed circle.

There you go, have fun looking yourself.



Anonymous said...

ORG here ...

A quote from Dick Pound in the December 11 LA Times article (part 2). It's right at the end:


USADA officials say they have proposed revisions to the WADA Code allowing arbitrators more latitude to reduce penalties in inadvertent cases — or to impose enhanced penalties in egregious cases.

But WADA's leaders are leaning in the opposite direction. Pound, for one, says the rules are already flexible enough to accommodate all situations that arise in individual cases.

"The system, as a system, is a pretty good one," he said. "It can be tweaked here or there, but we're not sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and redesigning the entire world anti-doping system."


Politically, what are we to make of these changes? Does it mean that Dick Pound lost some kind of internally battle about revising the code? It sure seem like they were talking about these changes and Pound was against them.

If he lost this, is it fair to say this is the first of what will be many changes at WADA?

tbv@trustbut.com said...

I'd say it demonstrates that WADA can change, in ways that Mr. Pound doesn't personally like, and that he's going away but not soon enough.

What we have here are examples of complaints by heavy hitters enacting what could be seen as a regression -- it will not be OK for snowboarders and basketball players to smoke dope; while managing to nail more defenseless folks with four year bans.

This is the face of "reform", which doesn't always mean "improve" -- it literally means re-form, to change shape.

I'll actually agree with Mr. Pound that a clean sheet would be a bad idea; it is always better in my experience to modify an existing document than start from scratch. That doesn't mean you can't gut the interior while leaving the exoskeleton.

I'd claim that WADA per se isn't the problem, but Mr. Pound. If left to time, things are likely to improve.

It takes cases like Landis to make flaws visible, and publicity like Landis to get anyone to do anything.

It's just not fun being Landis.


Thomas A. Fine said...

The LA Times article (which I now need to register to look at, harumph) implied that the actual criticisms were available on line somewhere. Do you have a link for that? I'd love to see the criticisms for the testosterone test.