Why WADA 2021’s new ‘Substances of Abuse’ regime needs urgent clarity
In January 2021, the WADA Code changes to allow substantially reduced suspensions for athletes who test positive for ‘Substances of Abuse’. This term is yet to be defined but it is expected to include recreational drugs like cocaine and cannabis, among others (see below).
This article identifies the Substances of Abuse changes and considers what National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADO) and Sports Governing Bodies (SGB) that have incorporated the WADA Code now need to do to prepare.
One important point to highlight at the outset is that the new regime applies retroactively. This means that athletes who are currently serving a suspension for a Substance of Abuse can seek to reduce its term, potentially allowing them to compete again as from 1 January 2021 when the new code enters into force. This article also voices concern that time is running short to put in place provisions and procedures now to allow athletes who are in this situation to resolve / appeal their suspension as soon as the new code takes effect on 1 January 2021. Specifically, it examines:
- Substances of Abuse under the 2021 Code
- Retroactive application
- Reasoning behind the changes
- Potential procedural problems
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- Tags: Anti-Doping | Dispute Resolution | Substances of Abuse | UK Anti-Doping | WADA | WADA Code 2021
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