WADA updates COVID-19 guidance for anti-doping organisations

‘We are providing clear guidance so that the integrity of the system can be maintained without jeopardising the health of athletes’ 07 May 2020
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Following on from its COVID-19 guidance of 20 March, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has issued updated guidance for the Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) focused on the resumption of athlete testing as deconfinement leads to the restart or return to normal of doping control programmes in a number of countries around the world.

WADA developed the guidance after consultating with a group of National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) to determine how the anti-doping community can best operate their testing programmes in this challenging environment. The guidance follows globally recommended health and hygiene procedures and is in line with the International Standard for Testing and Investigations.

The guidance has been refined to reflect the evolving nature of the pandemic, its effect on the global testing programme and the fact that some parts of the world that had suspended or significantly reduced testing are getting back to normal as restrictions begin to be lifted.

It covers a number of areas, concentrating in particular, on what procedures should be employed by ADOs and their sample collection personnel when conducting testing during this period.

WADA President Witold Bańka said: “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, WADA has been keeping in close contact with Anti-Doping Organisations in order to provide leadership and support in the face of this unprecedented situation.

“As always, our first priority must be public health, safety and social responsibility. Therefore, we continue to urge everyone to follow closely the advise of relevant health authorities and government agencies.

“Where testing programmes can resume, we are providing clear guidance so that the integrity of the system can be maintained without jeopardising the health of athletes, sample collection personnel or anyone coming into contact with them. It is crucial that the system can return to full power as quickly as possible once the various restrictions are lifted, in line with the different circumstances around the world.

“What this pandemic has demonstrated is the need for further innovation in anti-doping. WADA knows that to make anti-doping more effective, we continually need to innovate. Our work, in collaboration with the wider anti-doping community, researching new sample collection and analytical techniques has been ramped up, in particular in the areas of dried-blood-spot analysis and artificial intelligence. We continue to develop practical applications for these innovations while ensuring the appropriate consultation process is followed, and that they are legally sound and in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and related International Standard before coming into force."