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WADA clarifies Mutual Recognition in wake of U.S. Postal sanctions

World Anti-Doping Agency confirms responsibility of member federations to uphold USADA sanctions

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In the wake of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s recent lifetime bans issued towards three members of Lance Armstrong’s and Johan Bruyneel’s entourage, none of whom are official RadioShack-Nissan team staff, the World Anti-Doping Agency released a statement Wednesday confirming its unity with USADA and also clarifying precisely how anti-doping agencies, and all WADA Code signatories, work in accord.

The statement also explains that any international federation, in this case the UCI, has the right to appeal the agency’s sanction, though WADA declined to comment on specifics of the Armstrong case until “the time for exercising such rights has passed.”

The statement reads as follows:

“Following a number of media enquiries regarding the case involving charges brought by US Anti-Doping against members of American cycling teams, WADA advises that Article 15.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) covers the issue of Mutual Recognition amongst Code Signatories.

15.4 Mutual Recognition
15.4.1 Subject to the right to appeal provided in Article 13, Testing, therapeutic use exemptions and hearing results or other final adjudications of any Signatory which are consistent with the Code and are within that Signatory’s authority, shall be recognized and respected by all other Signatories.

The primary purpose of the Code has always been to create harmonized anti-doping rules and regulations so that decisions made by a Signatory in one particular country or sport are fully recognized and implemented by their fellow Signatories in other countries and other sports.

Without this harmonization and mutual recognition the fight against doping in sport would revert to the pre-WADA days when there was little uniformity and consistency in terms of sanctioning and the decisions handed down to athletes and others.

Signatories will therefore need to take appropriate steps to implement and enforce adjudications to ensure that the decisions are fully respected.

In the case of members of the athlete entourage that can happen in a number of ways, as the IOC and other international federations have demonstrated in the past by withdrawing accreditation or permission to be involved in events, refusing team membership or participation, and removing the right to be part of a medical or coaching commission for itself or National Federations.

In addition, most Signatories will immediately alert athletes not to seek treatment, guidance or advice from those banned, and to cease any association accordingly.

WADA strongly recommends all Signatories to take such steps in order to protect athletes from unscrupulous individuals who have a proven record of being involved in doping activities.

As with all cases under the Code, both the International Federation concerned — the UCI — and then WADA has a right of appeal. Until the time for exercising such rights has passed it is inappropriate for WADA to comment further on specifics of the case.”