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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
WADA-code in the EU

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the foundation which has been established to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against doping in all forms of sport. In pursuing this aim WADA cooperates with intergovernmental organizations, governments, public authorities and other public and private bodies fighting against doping in sport.

One of the most important tools for WADA in the fight against doping in sport is the implementation of a harmonized set of anti-doping rules, the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code). Pursuant to the Code drug-testers must be able to administer out-of-competition tests anytime and anywhere without prior notice. This is believed to be an effective deterrent against drugs cheats. The key provisions of the Code are that athletes must:

  • Provide whereabouts and be subject to testing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year;

  • Identify their location for each day in the following three months and update it should it change; and

  • Specify one hour each day between 6am and 11pm during which they can be located at a specified location for testing.
Recently the WADA-code has been introduced for professional sportsmen in the EU, but now the question has been raised whether this is acceptable from a legal perspective?

According to the "Council of Europe Anti-doping Convention" anti-doping controls should be carried out at appropriate times and by appropriate methods without unreasonably interfering with the private life of a sportsman. In the light of the above, the information to be provided concerning the whereabouts should be clearly determined by taking into account the requirements of the principles of necessity and proportionality with respect to the purposes of out of competition testing and avoiding the collection of information that might lead to undue interference in athletes' private lives or reveal sensitive data on athletes and/or third parties.

Furthermore it is also being discussed whether the whereabouts imply a breach of the European privacy laws, namely, the right to privacy and family life under the provisions of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950. Legal challenges under Data Protections Laws and the EU Working Time Directive are being considered. These regulations provide that every employee is entitled to 20-24 days of annual holiday. Regarding the whereabouts, if an athlete has to make himself available for a drug test 365 days a year, how can the whereabouts comply with this legal provision?

Legal rulings within the next months/years will probably determine the outcome of the discussion. A group of 65 athletes, cyclists, footballers and volleyball players has already filed a complaint with the Belgium's Council of State. If the case is successful in Belgium, it could undermine the work of the World Anti-Doping Agency and be used as a precedent to contest the ruling in other courts around the world.


I have been questioning why WADA and USADA have not been the lead anti-doping authority for major league and professional sports in the USA. They handle testing for all Olympic eligible athletes and handle the testing with little to no controversy. Why has WADA or USADA not been commissioned to test pro athletes under their strict testing schedules and guidelines? Don't you think that if a group like WADA or USADA were to be in charge of anti-doping testing in US pro and collegiate sports would clear much of unknowns and controversy surrounding some of the sports. Also, it would help NASCAR provide a list of banned substances to their drivers.

Anonymous Matt Lindenmuth -- 5/19/2009 3:47 PM  

Matt, there are many reasons that WADA and USADA do not lead in the major league sports in the USA/North America. One is that their work is extremely good, accurate and unforgiving. The other is that the unions know that their work is extremely good, accurate and unforgiving.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 5/19/2009 6:11 PM

There are serious questions concerning the effectiveness of the tests. Nature magazine raises doubt about the testing of the tests that WADA uses. Considering the damage to an athlete of positive result, they should be worried about the science behind the tests.

Blogger K -- 5/19/2009 9:21 PM  

Matt and Anon,

Overall, WADA would probably be the most efficient anti-doping athourity to handle major league sports. With that said, it has not been without controversy. They have conducted raid like searched in the middle of the night whith Olympic competitors preparing for an event the next day. Certainly not without controversy.

As far as USADA is concerned, I am still a bit concerned about certain tactics they have utilized in the past as well, such as using "unbiased arbitrors" who were trained by the USADA at their testing facility... that one just does not sit right with me.

Im sure either one would be more effective than the current major league system though.

Regarding collegiate sports, doping testing is probably too expensive for such a huge number of test subjects. Testing for recreational drugs is fairly cheap, but when you get into the testing for AAS and maskers, it is way more in depth and way more expensive...

My two cents

Blogger Jimmy H -- 5/20/2009 12:46 AM  

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