The 2007 IPC Classification Code (valid until 31 Dec 2016) is the core document that harmonises policies and procedures and sets principles for classification that must be applied by all International Federations. While classification is sport specific and governed by the different International Federations, the IPC Classification Code sets the framework for classification across sports.
In 2003, the Paralympic Movement conducted an analysis of classification system rules and recognised the need to co-ordinate Paralympic classification across sports. The outcome of this process was the IPC Classification Code, which was published in 2007.
The Classification Code is supplemented by three International Standards for:
Athlete Evaluation: procedures for sport class and sport class status allocation
Protests and Appeals: procedures for the management of classification related protests and appeals
Classifier training and certification: strategies for classifier training
This unified approach addresses problems that previously arose from unco-ordinated and disjointed classification efforts, including among others, inconsistent procedures for sport class and sport class status allocation.
Key objectives of the Code
The Code and its International Standards streamline policies and procedures for classification across sports, while allowing the International Federations to adapt these to the needs of their sport.
Consequently, the Code ensures that procedures in classification are relevant, transparent and of a high standard across sports. This simplifies the work of National Paralympic Committees, who support athletes competing in different International Federations. International Federations can exchange knowledge and experience more easily, through a standardised common language.
The Code states that the purpose of Classification is to “ensure that an athlete’s impairment is relevant to sport performance and to ensure that the athlete competes equitably with other athletes” (Article 2.1.1).
This common purpose led the way for the development of sport specific classification systems based on scientific evidence across sports.
Models of Best Practice
The IPC Governing Board has approved several classification related Models of Best Practice. These models are interpretations of the Code, and offer guidance to International Federations, they can be found under section 2, chapter 1.3 of the IPC Handbook:
Evidence-based Classification – Current Best Practice (2009)
This model offers a description of current best practice on evidence-based classification systems.
Choice of Sport Class for Multiple Impairments (2013)
This document offers an administrative procedure for International Federations for the inclusion of athletes with multiple impairment types in their sports.
Sport Class Changes following First Appearance (2013)
This document explains the impact of sport class changes during competition on results, prizes and medals.
Intentional Misrepresentation Rules (2013)
These rules offer a procedure for International Federations to follow up on potential cases of international misrepresentation, which is defined as a violation of the IPC Classification Code (Article 11).
Eligible Impairment Assessment on the Basis of Medical Documentation (2015)
This document offers and administrative procedure for International Federations to determine whether an athlete has a relevant health condition and/or an eligible impairment on the basis of medical documentation.