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World Athletics adopts new rules for Athletes' Representatives and Safeguarding

World Athletics adopts new rules for Athletes' Representatives and Safeguarding

World Athletics will introduce a centralised licensing system for Athletes’ Representatives from 1 September 2023 after the regulatory framework was approved by the World Athletics Council this week.

The new system will set global minimum standards for becoming an Athletes’ Representative (AR) and maintaining a licence to act on behalf of athletes for any competition.

Under the new system, Member Federations (MFs) will not be permitted to regulate World Athletics ARs or charge any fees to them. If MFs wish to implement a framework to regulate ARs, they will only be permitted to regulate matters falling within their national jurisdiction but must meet the minimum standards of the World Athletics framework.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “We have consulted with ARs and athletes around the current system, examining the practical realities faced by ARs and athletes working within the global athletics market and we believe a centralised system which sets minimum professional standards and provides ongoing professional development will lead to a better outcome for both athletes and agents.”

The new rules will introduce eligibility criteria to become an AR, which will apply equally on a global basis. Individuals who apply will be subject to a vetting and exam process.

The vetting requirements will be similar to those required to become a World Athletics official, but will also include specific requirements related to the duties of an AR. A new World Athletics Athletes’ Representative Panel will conduct the vetting.

The AR exam will contain essential subjects for acting as a sports agent including ethical compliance and safeguarding.

To maintain a licence an AR must pay an annual licence fee (to cover costs incurred by World Athletics), maintain professional indemnity insurance, and complete a minimum amount of continuing professional development.

World Athletics will establish an online portal to facilitate the licensing process and also plans to provide education to athletes on matters such as the meaning of their contracts, appropriate levels of payment/commissions and introductory information for emerging athletes on becoming an elite athlete.

The maximum amount of time that an athlete and AR may enter into an agreement will be two years, which can be extended for one-year periods. Athletes are also allowed to represent themselves.


The World Athletics Council also approved new Safeguarding Rules to guard against abuse, harassment or exploitation by World Athletics officials or which may occur at a World Athletics Series event or Congress. In exceptional cases, these rules will also apply to MF officials.

These new Rules give World Athletics the power to make orders imposing safeguards, limitations and restrictions on certain individuals, in order for World Athletics to ensure that safe, happy and positive environments are created for everyone involved in athletics and that all involved are treated with dignity and respect.

An independent Case Management Group will be appointed to make decisions in relation to safeguarding concerns which are investigated by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

The role of the Case Management Group will be to review investigations by the AIU, assess risk and make orders relating to safeguards, limitations, restrictions, sanctions and other matters.

MFs and Area Associations must comply with the World Athletics Safeguarding Policy.

MFs are responsible for managing reports of abuse, harassment and exploitation in their own countries and dealing with safeguarding concerns relating to MF officials, athletes and athlete supporting personnel under their jurisdiction. All MFs are required to adopt and implement procedures for the investigation and prosecution of reported safeguarding concerns in their territories.

Area Associations are responsible for managing reports relating to their staff, officials or volunteers, accredited persons at their events and competitions and participants in activities hosted at Area Development Centres.

The AIU Board will have absolute discretion to decide whether to pursue a matter, taking into account the seriousness of the conduct in question and the other circumstances of the case.

Human Rights

As part of World Athletics’ Human Rights Strategy, human rights considerations have been rolled into the Safeguarding Essentials E-Learning course, which is now available on the World Athletics website.

The focus of the course is to prevent abuse, harassment and exploitation of everyone in athletics, however their involvement and whatever their age.

Furthermore, the appointment process for the new Executive Board and the Risk Committee references human rights expertise as one of the desired qualifications of nominees, and the new Board and new Committee will review the need for other human rights considerations to be included in their terms of reference.

Human rights considerations will also continue to be factored into amendments to new rules and regulations. A report on human rights has been included in the Annual Council Report which will be presented to the World Athletics Congress this week.

World Athletics publishes Online Abuse Study covering Tokyo Olympic Games

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• Female athletes were the target of 87% of all abuse

• 65% of all abusive posts warrant intervention from social media platforms

In line with its commitment to making athletics a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, World Athletics today publishes findings of a study conducted during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to identify and address targeted, abusive messages sent to athletes via social media.

WADA to review cannabis rules

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The World Anti-Doping Agency is set to review whether or not cannabis should remain a banned substance.

Following a meeting of WADA's executive committee in Istanbul yesterday WADA announced that it will review the cannabis rules to determine whether or not the substance should remain on the Prohibited List. The announcement comes a few months after American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson missed the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for the substance, saying it helped her deal with the death of her mother.

World Athletics v Maria Guadalupe González Romero

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A decision in the case of World Athletics against Maria Guadalupe González Romero has been issued by the Disciplinary Tribunal

On 10 December 2018,  the AIU issued Ms González Romero with a Notice of Charge for committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 and 2.2 of the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) after testing positive for the Presence and Use of a Prohibited Substance. Ms González Romero requested the matter be resolved before the Disciplinary Tribunal. A hearing was held on 17 April 2019 and a decision issued on 09 May 2019 (‘the First Decision’). The First Decision imposed a four (4) year period of Ineligibility upon the Athlete commencing on the date of the Award.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Ad Hoc Division registers more new cases

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Tokyo, 2 August 2021 – The Ad Hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered the following new applications:

CAS OG 20/12 Nazar Kovalenko v. World Athletics (WA) & Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU)

The Ukrainian racewalker Nazar Kovalenko filed an application on 1 August 2021 seeking to overturn the AIU’s decision to declare him ineligible to compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 due to an alleged failure to meet the requirements of Rule 15 of the WA Anti-Doping Rules (missed out of competition doping tests), and an order that WA, AIU and/or the International Olympic Committee (IOC) take all reasonable measures to facilitate his participation in the 20km Race Walking event at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, scheduled for 5 August 2021. The Panel of arbitrators appointed to decide this dispute will hold a hearing with the parties on 3 August 2021.

World Athletics v Luvo Manyonga

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A decision in the case of World Athletics against Luvo Manyonga has been issued by the Disciplinary Tribunal.

On 23 December 2020 the AIU issued Mr Manyonga with a Notice of Charge for committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation relating to Whereabouts Failures, consisting of one Missed Test and two Filing Failures in a 12-month period.

Statement from USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart on Latest Case Under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act

Statement from USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart on Latest Case Under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act

Today’s announcement regarding the six-year sanction of Divine Oduduru under the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act (RADA) is another example of how the act is driving accountability in sport by exposing networks of conspirators working against clean athletes.

Justice is once again being served in international sport thanks to the scope of RADA and the commitment of principled organizations like the Athletics Integrity Unit to seek the truth,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “We are honored to support all clean athletes through the act, and this is another win for those who value fair sport.”

A panel of independent arbitrators determined that Oduduru committed anti-doping rule violations that warranted a four-year suspension and concluded that another two years were appropriate for aggravating circumstances due to the athlete’s attempted use of multiple prohibited substances ahead of World Athletics’ competitions and the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The case arose out of the criminal investigation into Eric Lira, who was the first person to plead guilty under RADA for providing prohibited substances to Olympic athletes, including Oduduru, ahead of the Tokyo Games. Without RADA, Lira, who positioned himself as a doctor to athletes, likely would have escaped consequence for his conspiracy to defraud the Tokyo Games because he did not fall under any sport anti-doping rules.

RADA requires the sharing of information between law enforcement and USADA, and that collaboration has led to numerous cases and anti-doping rule violations, including the decision against Sabina Allen and the decision against Blessing Okagbare that prevented her from defrauding the Tokyo Games. In the case of Oduduru and Okagbare, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) brought the anti-doping cases and worked closely with USADA to successfully investigate and compile evidence. The ongoing collaboration between anti-doping organizations, law enforcement, and other federal agencies will continue to hold those accountable who conspire against the rules to rob clean athletes and defraud sport.

RADA was signed into law following the unprecedented state-sponsored doping fraud perpetrated by the Russian state and sport system on innocent athletes and fans across the globe.

World Athletics v Fernanda Martins

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A decision in the case of World Athletics against Fernanda Martins has been issued by the Disciplinary Tribunal.

On 7 July 2021 the AIU issued Ms Martins with a Notice of Charge for committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation pursuant to Articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the 2021 World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules after testing positive for the Prohibited Substance Enobosarm. 

Salwa Eid Naser (Bahrain) found guilty of an Anti-Doping Role Violation (whereabout failures) by CAS

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Lausanne, 30 June 2021 - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the appeals filed by World Athletics (WA) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the decision issued by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal on 14 October 2020 (the Challenged Decision) in which it was determined that Ms Salwa Eid Naser had not committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) in relation to an alleged filing failure and missed tests between March 2019 and January 2020.

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