UCI highlights changes to the WADA Code

The 2015 World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) will come into effect from 1 January 2015 with the aim of “intensifying the fight” against doping. The UCI has highlighted a number of key features of the new Code that the National Federations will familiarise themselves with.

Strengthened sanctions will be imposed, which means tougher penalties like four-year bans on those who intentionally dope and for those who refuse to provide a sample. It also includes provisional suspensions for Biological passport related anti-doping rules violation (ADRV).

The Code has been revised to provide greater flexibility. Riders who return a positive test after taking a contaminated product such as a supplement and are able to demonstrate “no significant fault”, may face lesser bans. This could range from a reprimand to a two-year ban; reduced sanctions when banned substances are used out of competition in a context unrelated to sport performance such as medication or recreational drugs; and changes to the whereabouts programme means that the rider will face sanctions if they accumulate three whereabouts failures in 12 months, rather than 18 months.

The new Code recognises that smarter investigation is necessary. An obligation to investigate is placed on International Federations and National Anti-doping Organisations; obligation on athletes to report and collaborate in investigations; testing plans and analysis menu based on risk-assessment of drugs and methods likely to be abused in each discipline; greater enticement for collaborations; and the statute of limitations has been extended to ten years, which means that an allegation of doping can be investigated up to ten years after it has been committed.

Under the new Code, there is a greater focus on athlete support personnel (ASP), meaning coaches, physiotherapists, doctors, etc. A specific violation for “prohibited association” so that an athlete may be sanctioned for association with any ASP who is serving a period of ineligibility or has been convicted or found in a criminal, disciplinary or professional proceeding to have engaged in conduct which could have constituted a violation of anti-doping rules.

The UCI is finalising the implementation of the 2015 WADA Code in their new UCI Anti-doping Rules and has already received positive feedback from WADA compliance services on the structure of the new rules.

For more information on the 2015 Code implementation, please visit www.wada-ama.org.