Thursday, 15 November 2007

Madrid THREE: the WADAwatch intervention

Suffice to know, in diplomacy speak, the request for a microphone, to give one's thoughts, is called an 'intervention'...

(while typing this, we've enjoyed some of Spain's greatest flamenco guitarists and singers/dancers... Fiesta! in Madrid, señores and señoritas)

WADAwatch submitted the following text as requested prior to the deadline of November 2nd. There was confirmation of its receipt, but no assurance that WADAwatch would be given the microphone. It was suggested that, if the remarks were 'acceptable' that they would be included in the minutes published after the reunion had ended.

Here is the submitted text, as sent to WADA itself:

I thank WADA for presenting an opportunity to add an individual's voice to this important Conference. I submit this opinion on behalf of world citizens who are very concerned with doping in sport. My request is simple, my reasoning sound, and my hopes sincere:

WADA must commit much more of its budgetary resources, focus and energy to bring about actual harmonization within the family of WADA-accredited laboratories, to improve their scientific practice, and results management procedure.


  1. Giro d'Italia B Samples must be analysed in Madrid because the facility in Rome is not capable of performing a Salbutamol test (Giro d'Italia/Petacchi);
  2. An International Federation relocates testing to a laboratory that is over three thousand km away, for its international event taking place only 18 km from a WADA-accredited laboratory, (ITF/Roland Garros/Montreal); or,
  3. A laboratory can close for vacation while under contract to perform testing for the world's most important cycling event (AFLD: département des analyses/cyclist Iban Mayo/Ghent lab in Belgium)

There exists sufficient evidence of non-harmonization within the sphere of WADA-accredited laboratories. Until addressed, this mission-critical situation remains a detriment, a liability towards victory in the advancing battle to combat sports-doping. On 24 October, 2007, the EU Presidency (Portugal) held a meeting in Lisbon, of EU Sports Directors: it included this observation as part of their draft official document:

Recognising that the World Anti-Doping Code 2003 has been a success in providing a common background for the worldwide harmonisation of anti-doping provisions for the public authorities and the Olympic movement; ...”

However, the Athletes who place themselves in your hands, want more than 'a common background', they want you to implement scientific Laboratory harmonization as rapidly as possible, as found in the Introduction and Foundation Principles of the WADA CODE. This will benefit all Athletes by producing reliable, state-of-the-art results, and with properly timed distribution to the press.

Athletes are increasingly aware of the 'strict liability' assigned to their conduct on and off the sporting scene. However, they face lab-work by WADA-accredited laboratories that do not operate under the same strict liability standard. They face premature and saturated press coverage of their cases, prior to the date by which such information should be presented. A questionnaire emailed to WADA's 34 laboratories (now 33), requested feedback on further proposed changes to the WADA CODE: scientific reliability, results management and regulatory means of addressing laboratory irregularities were all addressed. No responses by WADA laboratories have been returned, which dashed my hopes to report on them here. I offer a copy of that Questionnaire today, to any and all Signatories who share these concerns.

Medical and Forensic laboratories work around the globe daily, under international or domestic standards often more rigorous than those found developed in the WADA CODE 2003, and ISL or IST 2004. They have no benefit of the 'presumption' within CODE Article 3.2.1. Should not WADA-accredited laboratories be brought up to the level one would expect, if a loved family member was facing life-threatening surgery?

In CONCLUSION, the best and purest interests of WADA would be achieved, if it devoted time in 2008 to rectify this legal imbalance, through further modification of the WADA CODE, ISL and IST, as has been proposed.

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Thus the world now has a chance to read, what WADAwatch may not be able to present in Madrid...

Watching WADA LIVE!


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