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Ask the expert

Q: What is the Code Review Process?

A:

The Code Review Process is a highly-consultative, two-year program designed to update and amend the World Anti-Doping Code according to the wishes of its signatories and stakeholders and to meet the evolving challenges and changes faced by the world’s anti-doping community.

Following the model of the first Code Review in 2006-2007 – which culminated with the adoption of a revised Code in November 2007 which came into force in 2009 – the second Code Review began in November 2011.

It will reach a conclusion at the Fourth World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg in November 2013, at which a revised Code will be adopted by WADA’s Foundation Board.

The revised Code will come into force in January 2015, thereby giving stakeholders appropriate time to make required revisions to their own rules.

What does the Process involve?

Over the course of the two years, WADA’s stakeholders – which include athletes from around the world – are encouraged to take part in three Consultation Phases. These are the times during which WADA receives formal submissions to amend the Code.

A Code Drafting Team comprised of drafting experts has been appointed by WADA to prepare drafts on the basis of the submissions received and present those drafts to WADA’s Executive Committee in a working document.

The Executive Committee – consisting of representatives from the sport movement and governments – then approves which submissions are incorporated into the next draft of the Code before the Process moves on to the next Consultation Phase.

On completion of each new draft of the Code, WADA sends a red-lined version to all stakeholders and publishes it on the WADA website. WADA also publishes all submissions made during each Consultation Phase unless requested otherwise by the author of the submission.

Two consultation phases for WADA’s International Standards – for testing, Therapeutic Use Exemptions, data protection, and laboratories – run concurrently with the second and third consultation phases for the Code. International Standards work in conjunction with the Code and are aimed at bringing harmonization in various technical areas of anti-doping.

Who can make submissions during the Code Review Process?

Quite simply, anyone with an interest in the Code can make a submission. Submissions come from a diverse range of sources but mostly from sport, government, academia, science, medicine, law and obviously the anti-doping community.

In particular, all signatories and stakeholders to the Code – including athletes – are encouraged by WADA to take an active part in the Code Review Process. WADA has developed an online submissions tool called WADAConnect in order to make this process as simple and accessible as possible.

WADAConnect – which is accessible from the WADA homepage – helps to facilitate the Code Review Process as well as the publication of final submissions on the WADA website at the end of each Consultation Phase.

Does WADA consider all submissions that are made?

Yes, the Code Drafting Team reviews every submission.

Ahead of the Code Review, WADA contacts all its signatories and stakeholders and requests that they draw on their experience in the field of anti-doping, and their experience during the first Code Review, to make contributions that will be of benefit to the fight against doping.

In order for submissions to stand a realistic chance of leading to appropriate changes to the Code, they need to respect general principles of law, proportionality and human rights, and also be able to withstand legal challenges in courts across the world.

The fundamental principle behind the Code is that of harmonization, so any submissions to change the Code should take this into account.

Why does the Code Review take two years to complete?

The Code is a comprehensive document that reflects the requirements of sport, athletes and governments worldwide. It is also a unique document that represents the coming together of these groups to address an issue that threatens the integrity of sport on a global scale, as well as issues of public health and education.

Since it came into effect in 2004, the Code has succeeded in bringing harmonization to the anti-doping effort across the world. In addition, in the great majority of cases the Code has been upheld by disciplinary panels, arbitration panels and courts of law.

Before any changes are made they therefore need to be thoroughly examined by a variety of anti-doping experts. The recommendations of these experts need also to be assessed by WADA’s Executive Committee.

Two years is considered a suitable time frame in which to complete a thorough and consultative review of all submissions and in which to produce the three drafts required of WADA.

Are stakeholders and signatories able to view comments submitted by other organizations?

Yes. When permitted, comments of the preceding round will be posted on the WADA website at the beginning of the next round, together with a new draft version of the 2015 Code. Feedback is then requested on the new version.