Anti-doping: new monitoring reports (Italy, the Netherlands and Russia) and Recommendation on whistleblowers’ protection

Strasbourg, France 19 January 2022
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@Shutterstock @Stockbakery

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The Monitoring Group publishes today three monitoring reports and its Recommendation on the protection of whistleblowers in the context of the fight against doping. The latter aims at reaffirming Council of Europe principles on the protection of whistleblowers and at adapting them to the sport and anti-doping reality. National authorities are invited to set an overarching system which strikes the right balance between encouraging athletes and other persons to speak out, while protecting them and ensuring that the information provided is circulated and used appropriately.

The report of the evaluation visit to the Russian Federation (21-23 September 2021) analyses the measures taken by the Russian authorities to strengthen the fight against doping at the national level. It concludes that the Russian authorities comply with the requirements of the Anti-Doping Convention. At the same time, the report contains a number of recommendations to improve the current system, notably through the adoption of an anti-doping specific law regulating all aspects of the fight against doping. The national coordination aspect should be strengthened to ensure an appropriate level of co-operation among all stakeholders. Measures should also be implemented to provide the Russian anti-doping agency, RUSADA, with the necessary resources and support to carry out effective anti-doping work in the whole of the Russian Federation territory, at the same time guaranteeing independence of its operational activities, such as planning doping controls, processing information provided by whistleblowers. More severe consequences, including of administrative, professional or criminal nature should be envisaged against athlete support persons who do not respect the anti-doping rules. The report also analyses the situation of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory and recommends conducting a thorough analysis of the need to have a WADA-accredited laboratory. It finally recommends boosting education and awareness-raising measures in order to spread positive messages on clean sport and anti-doping work.

Following the evaluation visit to the Netherlands (13-15 September 2021), the report concludes that the Dutch authorities comply with the Anti-Doping Convention and provides measures to be taken to reinforce the anti-doping system. Recommendations aim notably at improving information-sharing among all stakeholders active in the fight against doping in sport. Measures should also be taken to ensure that the testing jurisdiction of Doping Authority Netherlands is not undermined and to review the anti-doping rule violation proceedings. The report highlights a number of initiatives, such as legal aid to athletes, education programmes for different target groups, as well as cooperation with fitness centres and gyms which could be considered as good practices.

Lastly, the report of the evaluation visit to Italy (19-21 November 2019) was also released. The report outlines some recommendations, which the Italian authorities have already implemented since the evaluation visit. Further measures need to be taken in order to implement recommendations relating to improving national coordination and education programmes.