2021 World Anti-Doping Code
The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code will come into effect on 1 January 2021.
The revision process for the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code began at the end of 2017 and following a two-year consultation process ended with its unanimous approval on 7 November 2019.
Adopting the Code in Australia
Changes to the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code will require updates to the Anti-Doping policies adopted by Australian sports.
For athletes and others involved in sport, it is important to understand the changes and how they affect you.
Information on this page will updated to keep sports, athletes and the public informed as Australia transitions across to the 2021 Code.
Summary of Code changes
We have put together for a guide to help explain the major changes between the 2015 Code and the 2021 Code.
Importance of Health recognised in the Code
In 2004, the first World Anti-Doping Code was published to harmonise anti-doping rules across the world. With an initial focus on fair play and ethics in sport the Code has now, through the 2021 Code, elevated health as a main driver for anti-doping rules.
Athletes’ Anti-Doping Rights Act
The Athletes’ Anti-Doping Rights Act is based on the 2021 Code and Standards and aims to ensure that all athlete anti-doping rights are clearly set out and accessible in one document with universal applicability. The Act includes rights:
- during testing missions
- to a fair, independent, timely hearing
- to medical treatment
- to report concerns without the threat of retribution or retaliation
- to education
- to data protection
- to compensation
- to B Sample analysis.
The full Act is available on the World Anti-Doping Agency website.
Protected Person is a new definition in the 2021 Code for an athlete who is:
- under 16,
- under 18 and not in any Registered Testing Pool or that has never competed in an open category at an International Event, or
- for reasons other than age, otherwise lacks legal capacity under applicable domestic legislation.
Under the 2021 Code, Protected Persons that commit an anti-doping rule violation may receive less severe consequences or sanctions, and the details of their violation(s) will ordinarily not be made public.
For cases involving a Protected Person or a Recreational Athlete, the ban from sport can range from a reprimand to a maximum ban of two-years, depending on the level of fault and the type of violation.
Definition of National Level Athlete and published sporting events
Change to National-Level Athlete
In order to adopt the 2021 Code in Australia a change was made to our anti-doping legislation that redefines a National-Level Athlete. This change allows Sport Integrity Australia to identify Lower-Level Athletes.
A National-Level Athlete is now defined as any Athlete:
- preparing for, or competing in, any of the declared events listed on Sport Integrity Australia’s website
- on the Sport Integrity Australia Registered Testing Pool or Domestic Testing Pool.
Any athlete who does not compete in any of the declared events listed or isn’t on a Registered Testing Pool or Domestic Testing Pool, may be considered as a Lower-Level Athlete.
Declared Sporting Events or Competitions
Sport Integrity Australia publishes a list of ‘declared sporting events or competitions’ on its website that helps to define who would be considered a National-Level Athlete.
National Sporting Organisations and Sport Integrity Australia work together to select only those events where the athletes that are competing have access to anti-doping education and understand their anti-doping responsibilities.
For Lower-Level Athletes, the Sport Integrity Australia CEO has a discretion on whether to proceed with a matter and, if a violation is proven, has greater flexibility in recommending a sanction. The discretion relates only to anti-doping rule violations that are not associated with testing, for example, Trafficking or Possession of a prohibited substance or prohibited method.
Retired athletes seeking a return to competition
For anti-doping purposes, Registered Testing Pool athletes are required to formally give notice of their retirement to Sport Integrity Australia or their International Federation.
A former Registered Testing Pool athlete coming out of retirement must give six months written notice to Sport Integrity Australia or their International Federation and make themselves available for anti-doping testing before competing in any International or National Event.
If an athlete unknowingly competes in an International or National Event their competitive results may not be disqualified if they can prove they could not have reasonably known the event was an International or National Event.
As a general rule:
- National Event is an event or competition involving International or National-Level Athletes that is not an International Event, and
- International Event is an event or competition where the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, an International Federation, a Major Event Organisation, or another international sporting organisation is the governing body.
Former Registered Testing Pool athletes that return to sport but do not wish to compete at National or International Events will require WADA, Sport Integrity Australia and/or their sport to grant an exemption to the six-month rule.
Definition of ‘In-Competition’
Some substances and methods are banned at all times in sport, and others are only banned ‘In-Competition’. The 2021 Code changes how the ‘In-Competition’ period is defined.
From 1 January 2021, the ‘In-Competition’ period will begin at 11:59 pm the night before an athlete is scheduled to compete and finishes at the end of the sample collection period for that competition.
Samples used for other purposes
Under the 2021 Code, samples collected for anti-doping purposes can also be used to enforce other rules of an International Federation or National Anti-Doping Organisation, such as Code of Conduct, Illicit Drugs or Medical and Safety policies.
Example: A sample that is initially collected for anti-doping purposes could also be used by an International Federation to test for illicit drugs in the enforcement of their other codes and policies.
However, athletes must be told if their sample is being used for purposes other than detecting prohibited substances under the anti-doping rules.
Sample re-analysis and research
There is no restriction on the number of times a sample can be re-analysed by Sport Integrity Australia, the World Anti-Doping Agency, or another Anti-Doping Organisation within 10 years of its collection. However, once an athlete is notified of positive sample, re-analysis can only occur with the consent of the athlete or a hearing panel.
With the consent of the athlete, both samples and anti-doping information can be used for research to help improve anti-doping methods.
Currently, Sport Integrity Australia relies on the Registered Testing Pool and the Domestic Testing Pool to gather athlete Whereabouts information for the purpose of anti-doping testing. However, under the 2021 Code, Sport Integrity Australia will establish a new Testing Pool to collect athlete Whereabouts information.
Athletes in the new Testing Pool will need to submit Whereabouts information through the World Anti-Doping Agency’s system called ADAMS. While these athletes will be required to provide an overnight address and regular training activities, they will not be asked to provide a 60-minute testing window that athletes in the other testing pools are required to provide.
Athletes in the new Testing Pool that do not comply with these requirements may be subject to written warnings and/or placement within the Registered Testing Pool.
A new anti-doping rule violation will come into effect on 1 January 2021 that makes it an offence to discourage or retaliate against someone for reporting information relating to doping activities (including information about non-compliance with the Code by an International Federation or Anti-Doping Organisation).
Example: If an administrator or coach excludes an athlete from training or competition because the athlete has reported doping information to Sport Integrity Australia, the administrator or coach may receive a sanction for breaching this new provision.
Changes to existing violations
This violation has been amended to include a reference to tampering during the Results Management process.
Example: Giving a false statement, evidence or documents.
Complicity and Attempted Complicity violation
The sanction for this violation now ranges from a two-year ban to a lifetime ban.
Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, conspiring, covering up or any other type of intentional complicity involving an anti-doping rule violation or attempted anti-doping rule violation by another person.
Refusal to submit
The sanction for this violation can now be reduced from a four-year to a two year ban if the athlete can prove that the violation was not intentional and if the level of fault by the athlete warrants a reduction.
Prompt resolution of cases
There have been other changes to the Code that will help speed up the Results Management process.
Reducing a sanction for prompt admission to a violation
An athlete or other person facing a four-year ban can have their sanction reduced by one year if they admit to the violation and accept the sanction within 20 days of the violation notice.
Entering into a Case Resolution Agreement
A Case Resolution Agreement can be entered into if an athlete or other person admits to an anti-doping rule violation and agrees to the consequences proposed by the Anti-Doping Organisation. A sanction for an athlete or other person under a Case Resolution Agreement may be reduced on the basis of:
- the seriousness of the violation,
- the athlete or other person’s degree of fault, and
- how promptly the athlete or other person admits to the violation.
Case Resolution Agreements cannot be appealed.
An athlete or other person who is considering entering into a Case Resolution Agreement is entitled to discuss making an admission under a ‘Without Prejudice Agreement’. This means that if agreement cannot be reached between the athlete and the Anti-Doping Organisation, the information gathered during the case resolution discussions cannot be used against the athlete or other person by the Anti-Doping Organisation in any Results Management proceedings under the Code.
Breaching a provisional suspension
A provisional suspension requires an athlete to stop training, participating and competing in sport until the athlete’s case has been determined by the relevant Anti-Doping organisation.
Athletes that have been provisionally suspended by their sport are not able to participate in other sports with an anti-doping policy during this time. Participation would include, for example:
- practicing/training at a national, state or club level,
- acting as a coach or sporting official,
- selection in any representative team,
- competing in any competition/events,
- receiving, directly or indirectly, funding or assistance from a sport,
- use of official sport or member facilities, or
- holding any position within a sporting organisation.
Any results earned whilst an athlete is provisionally suspended will be disqualified.
The Code change also makes clear that if an athlete breaches their provisional suspension, they are not eligible for credit towards their final sanction for the time that they were provisionally suspended.
Example: An athlete receives a provisional suspension when notified of a positive anti-doping test. The athlete has been provisionally suspended for 3 months and then decides to compete in a sporting event to see how fit they are, thereby breaching their provisional suspension. When the final decision is handed down, the athlete’s sanction commences from the date of the decision, rather than from the date the athlete was provisionally suspended.
If there are Aggravating Circumstances in an athlete’s case, then this may justify a longer ban from sport than a standard sanction (for example, a ban can be increased by up to two years, depending on the seriousness of the violation). Such Aggravating Circumstances could include:
- using or possessing multiple prohibited substances or methods,
- committing multiple anti-doping rule violations, and
- repeat offending.
Re-allocating forfeited prize money
Where an athlete wins prize money in a competition and is later found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation, the sport will be responsible for reallocating any recovered prize money to the athletes who would have been entitled to it, had the sanctioned athlete not competed.
Prohibited Association warning
Previously, an Anti-Doping Organisation was required to advise an athlete in writing of an athlete support person’s disqualification from sport and the potential consequence should the athlete continue to associate with them.
However, an Anti-Doping Organisation is no longer required to do this and is entitled to pursue a violation against an athlete for Prohibited Association. Under the 2021 Code, the burden will be on the athlete to establish that their association with the disqualified person was not in a sporting capacity, or that the contact could not have been reasonably avoided.
Example: If an athlete associates with a coach or a doctor that has been banned from sport for an anti-doping rule violation then the athlete may receive a sanction for Prohibited Association, unless the athlete can prove that their contact with the disqualified person was not sport-related or could not be avoided.
Making a violation public
Early announcement of a violation
The 2021 Code will allow for early public disclosure of a violation in some cases.
Example: Once an athlete or other person has been notified by Sport Integrity Australia of an alleged anti-doping rule violation, the agency may permit the sport to publicly announce the details of the alleged violation and any provisional suspension. However, there may be occasions where Sport Integrity Australia does not permit the sport to do this, for example, where the publication of the information may prejudice an investigation.
Violation by a minor
Public disclosure is not required when the violation has been committed by a minor, Protected Person or Recreational Athlete. The World Anti-Doping Agency can also agree to not publicly disclose an anti-doping rule violation in exchange for a sanctioned person’s substantial assistance.
More rigorous standards to ensure fair hearings
This change to the Code strengthens the operational independence of a hearing panel by making it clear that those deciding anti-doping rule violation cases are not to have been involved in the investigation of the case or the decision to charge the athlete or other person.
Substances of abuse
‘Substances of Abuse’ is a new category of Prohibited Substances set out in the Prohibited List because they are known to be frequently abused outside of sport.
If an athlete commits an anti-doping rule violation involving a substance of abuse (for example by using marijuana or cocaine), then the athlete’s ban from sport may be reduced to 3 months if the athlete is able to prove that the substance was used out-of-competition and that its use was unrelated to sporting performance. The ban could be further reduced to one month if the athlete completes a Substance of Abuse treatment plan that is approved by the responsible Anti-Doping Organisation.