UCI Anti-doping Programme
The UCI and anti-doping: principles, actors and functioning
After the election of Brian Cookson as UCI President on 27 September 2013, an in-depth reform of the UCI's anti-doping procedures commenced immediately. The resultant changes â€“ whether already introduced, under way or yet to come â€“ essentially have the intention of reinforcing the independence of anti-doping activities and improving their effectiveness.
Main actors involved in the fight against doping in cycling
Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF)
An organisation that is central to the fight against doping in cycling, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) has gained ISO certification and is independent of the UCI. The CADF is mandated by the UCI to:
- define and implement the rider testing strategy,
- ensure the proper operation and continuous improvement of the biological passport programme,
- draw up and implement anti-doping educational programmes,
- provide scientific and administrative support to the Legal Anti-Doping Service for case management,
- provide administrative support to the UCI Scientific Adviser on the management of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE)
The independence of the CADF was significantly reinforced in September 2013 when its Board was completely renewed. The CADF is chaired by the former President of the UCI Anti-Doping Commission (who resigned this post to take up the chairmanship of CADF), Dr George Ruijsch Van Dugteren, and comprises three members who are independent of the UCI: two legal experts, Mr Christophe Misteli and Mr Thomas Capdevielle, and financial expert Mr Yvan Haymoz.
The UCI determines the CADFâ€™s priorities in terms of the testing strategy and broad lines of approach through a contract of services. This contract will be adapted on an annual basis after evaluation of the results obtained and the situation arising from the tests carried out.
Legal Anti-Doping Service
The Legal Anti-Doping Service was established in October 2013. Essentially composed of legal experts, this body intervenes when a case of an apparent breach of the anti-doping rules is reported to it, in particular by the CADF, and takes responsibility for the procedure that will result in the sanction â€“ or not â€“ of the rider (or other licence holder) in question. The Service has the following tasks in particular:
- notifying the rider (or other licence holder) and requesting an explanation,
- organising the opening of sample B, if appropriate,
- managing whereabouts filing failures,
- supplying information to all parties, as recommended by the UCI Regulations, including to the UCI Management,
- initiating and following up disciplinary procedures,
- examining complex cases,
- collaborating with the UCI external legal counsel, including for appeals brought before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Previously, the legal management of potential doping cases was conducted by the UCI Legal Service. The new Legal Anti-Doping Service has been set up as a unit separate from the rest of the UCI in order to afford this function greater independence. The working relationships between the members of this Service and other UCI employees will be subject to strict guidelines. In particular, the Legal Anti-Doping Service will not receive any instructions from the UCI Management.
The UCI external legal counsel
The UCI uses the services of an external legal counsel. This is the LÃ©vy-Kaufmann-Kohler practice in Geneva. The role of the external legal counsel is generally to offer a second opinion (in addition to that of the Legal Anti-Doping Service). It is consulted by the Service at each stage of a procedure. The external legal counsel is also involved with appeals lodged with the CAS.
The use of an external legal counsel is an innovation: previously this function was carried out by a lawyer closely linked to the UCI President's office and Legal Service. The external legal counsel is completely independent of UCI.
UCI Anti-Doping Policy Board
This body is made up of three people: the President of the UCI Anti-Doping Commission (see below), Mr Peder Pedersen, a representative of the UCI external legal counsel, Mr Antonio Rigozzi, and the UCI General Director, Mr Martin Gibbs. The role of the Board is usually to reach a decision when the Legal Anti-Doping Service and the UCI external legal counsel disagree or cannot reach a decision (in particular because a question of principle must first be resolved).
The decisions of the Anti-Doping Policy Board take into account the circumstances of each individual case. The Board pays particular attention to the objectives of the World Anti-Doping Code, while overseeing an effective allocation of resources in order to maximise the impact of the UCI anti-doping programme.
UCI Anti-Doping Commission
This Commission is chaired by Mr Peder Pedersen. The members are Dr Chris Jarvis, Ms Marjolaine Viret and Mr Nikita O. Kamaev. In particular, the Commission:
- can lift provisional suspensions imposed on riders (in this way operating as an appeal body),
- carries out what are known as "administrative reviews" in relation to whereabouts failures, in other words operating as an appeals body in the event that a rider considers that a whereabouts failure has been incorrectly identified,
- recognises the decisions issued by the signatories of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code in order to extend their validity beyond the jurisdiction of the issuing bodies.
UCI Doctor and Scientific Adviser
Dr Mario Zorzoli, the UCI Doctor and Scientific Adviser, may be consulted at any stage of an anti-doping procedure, either by the CADF, the Legal Anti-Doping Service or the UCI external legal counsel, in order to give an opinion or advice on a scientific, medical or technical aspect of a case. Dr Zorzoli provides his input without being told the identity of the athlete involved.
UCI and anti-doping: new principles
In general terms, the independence of anti-doping with regards to the UCI has been considerably increased, as UCI President Brian Cookson had promised in his Manifesto. This does not mean that the UCI is disregarding its responsibilities in the fight against doping. To the contrary, the UCI is now in a much better position to assume these responsibilities by avoiding the possibility of interference of its directors in the work of the anti-doping experts (both scientific and legal).
Reports drawn up by the bodies described above as well as those produced by the UCI President's office, Management and Administrative Service are subject to the strict guidelines of the Internal rules for anti-doping procedures. This document, approved by the UCI Executive Board in November 2013, very precisely defines the responsibilities and remits of all parties and the manner in which they can, or cannot, communicate with each other. This allows a guarantee of the independence of anti-doping activities with regards to the UCI in order to avoid any conflict of interest and thus guarantee the ethics of the fight against doping in cycling. The UCI is the first organisation involved in the fight against doping to adopt such rules and make them public. In this way the UCI intends to act with complete transparency with a view to establishing and ensuring the strict respect of the principle of accountability which represents the best guarantee of credibility in the long term.
In the same vein, the UCI has ordered an audit of the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) with a view to confirming the relevance and effectiveness of its anti-doping programme. The UCI is committed to following iNADO recommendations to make the necessary improvements to its programme.
iNADO has an excellent global reputation in the fight against doping and is governed by a Board of Directors made up of representatives from the anti-doping authorities of several countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Norway and Singapore).
How anti-doping activities work: from potential infringement to possible sanction
First phase: detection of potential infringement and communication of the case to the Legal Anti-Doping Service
In this initial phase of the process, potential breaches of the anti-doping rules are noted and reported by the competent parties and then sent to the CADF. When considered necessary, the CADF forwards the case to the Legal Anti-Doping Service. The most common scenarios are described below.
- A rider is submitted to an in-competition control. Several actors may carry out this type of control and are responsible for reporting it: Doping Control Officers appointed by the CADF, the National Anti-Doping Organisation of the country in which the athlete is licensed, the National Anti-Doping Organisation of the country in which the athlete is present, National Federations or the organisers of major sporting events (Olympic and Paralympic Games, Commonwealth Games, etc.). Once the control has been conducted, the relevant authority organising the sampling completes the control form in the ADAMS (Anti-Doping Administration & Management System) programme, set up and supervised by WADA. In particular, the riderâ€™s identity and sample number are indicated here. The sample is dispatched to a WADA-accredited laboratory without the riderâ€™s identity being communicated. The laboratory enters the results of the analysis in ADAMS. The CADF coordinates and supervises all operations by the actors involved. It is the CADF that examines potential breaches of the anti-doping rules from a scientific point of view. When it considers that there has been a potential breach (adverse analytical finding) and that the rider has no authorisation for use of the incriminating substance for therapeutic purposes (TUE), the CADF sends the dossier to the Legal Anti-Doping Service.
- A rider is submitted to an out-of-competition control. This type of control is delegated by the CADF to one of its partners (sampling agencies IDTM, PWC, GOS or Clearidium). The following stages are similar to that described for in-competition controls: recording the control in ADAMS, dispatch of an anonymous sample to a WADA-accredited laboratory for analysis, results of this analysis made known to CADF via ADAMS, examination of any potential breach by CADF and forwarding the dossier to the Legal Anti-Doping Service if necessary.
- All riders of UCI ProTeams and UCI Professional Continental Teams have a biological passport (this requirement may be extended to riders of other categories and disciplines). The passport data is drawn up on the basis of controls conducted (both in-competition and out-of-competition). ADAMS updates the profiles of riders as soon as the corresponding results are submitted to ADAMS by WADA-accredited laboratories. The APMU (Athlete Passport Management Unit), a body operating from the Swiss Doping Analysis Laboratory in Lausanne, is notified when a rider's haematological profile is updated. Each week, the APMU sends a series of profiles to an expert who examines them and then returns evaluations to the APMU. If an evaluation indicates that it is unlikely that a profile is the result of a standard physiological or pathological condition, the APMU informs the CADF, which then provides additional information on the rider concerned. The work of the APMU and the experts is conducted by means of a unique identifier without the rider's identity being revealed. The APMU then returns the profile and additional information to the expert who first examined the profile and also forwards it to two other experts. All three experts consider the profile individually. If they are unanimously convinced that the case is one of possible doping, the process enters a relatively complex phase (telephone conference between the experts, provision of several additional analytical and pre-analytical items of information by the CADF, re-examination in view of the new information provided) which concludes with the dispatch of the dossier to the Legal Anti-Doping Service, if necessary, in the form of an adverse analytical finding for a passport.
- If a rider provides erroneous information on his or her location such that the anti-doping official cannot carry out a scheduled out-of-competition control, or if the rider provides whereabouts information after the date fixed by CADF: this is known as a whereabouts filing failure. The accumulation of three whereabouts filing failures over a period of 18 months represents an infringement. Such failures may be noted and reported by CADF approved partners (IDTM, PWC, GOS or Clearidium) or CADF itself. The procedure is then the same as in the first two scenarios: examination of potential breaches and then, if necessary, dispatch of the dossier to the Legal Anti-Doping Service.
- If a rider does not submit to a control (cannot be found, disappears, refuses to submit to the test, etc.), this behaviour is noted and reported to the CADF by the Doping Control Officer appointed by the CADF, the relevant National Anti-Doping Organisation or other authorised organisation. As in the scenarios described above, the CADF examines the breach, gathers the necessary information to draw up a dossier, and then dispatches this dossier to the Legal Anti-Doping Service.
- It may be the case that a rider attempts to manipulate a control (e.g. by using techniques that seek to falsify the sample or even by intentionally destroying the sample). The actors described in the previous scenario, to which must be added to the laboratory analysing the sample, note and report the facts to the CADF which acts in the same manner as described above.
- The final scenario concerns the administration, possession or trafficking of prohibited substances. These may be noted and reported to the CADF by the actors mentioned in the two previous scenarios, by WADA or the civil authorities (e.g. the police). The CADF then follows the same procedure as for the previous scenarios.
Second phase: the management of cases by the Legal Anti-Doping Service
When there is an apparent breach of the anti-doping rules, a new phase commences: a phase that will result in the sanction â€“ or not â€“ of the individual in question. The central actor of this stage of the process is the Legal Anti-Doping Service which takes over from the CADF. The Legal Anti-Doping Service can refer to the external legal counsel which issues a second opinion at several stages of the procedure.
Here is a summary of the major types of potential breach of the anti-doping rules, as mentioned above:
- adverse analytical finding (following an in-competition or out-of-competition control),
- adverse analytical finding for the biological passport,
- breach of the requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing,
- "non-analytical" breach of the anti-doping rules (i.e. not based on an analysis result, e.g. a refusal to submit to a control).
The considerations below relate to managing cases in each of these situations.
Adverse analytical finding
The Legal Anti-Doping Service receives an adverse analytical finding from the CADF.
On the basis of an examination of a potential breach by the CADF, the Legal Anti-Doping Service continues proceedings and informs the rider, his or her National Federation, the National Anti-Doping Organisation of his or her country and WADA of the advent of an abnormal result. The Legal Anti-Doping Service also informs the UCI Management. The latter issues information on the subject, including through the media, if considered pertinent. This is useful because a notified rider is provisionally suspended (although this does not insinuate prior proof of guilt) if the substance discovered is "non-specified" (as opposed to "specified" substances â€“ it is unlikely that the presence of "non-specified" substances can be explained by a credible reason not linked to doping). An appropriate communication in this situation contributes to the UCIâ€™s transparency in the subject of anti-doping.
At this stage, the rider may request the Legal Anti-Doping Service to order the opening of the B sample. If this confirms the adverse finding of the A sample, or if the rider dispenses with this option, the Legal Anti-Doping Service requests the rider to explain why the sample has returned an adverse finding. The Service will then have sufficient information to allow it to decide whether to open disciplinary proceedings against the rider in question or not.
In all cases, the Legal Anti-Doping Service then consults the external legal counsel without revealing the rider's identity. Three situations are then possible:
- The external legal counsel and the Legal Anti-Doping Service both consider that there is cause to open disciplinary proceedings. In this case, the rider is informed of the applicable sanction (this may not happen if it is clear that the rider will contest the sanction; in these circumstances, the disciplinary procedure is initiated directly, in agreement with the external legal counsel). If the rider accepts the sanction, the Legal Anti-Doping Service informs the UCI Management as well as the external legal counsel (which is then informed of the riderâ€™s name). The UCI can decide to release information, including through the media, on the sanction imposed. If the rider rejects the sanction communicated by the Legal Anti-Doping Service, the Service requests the anti-doping authority concerned (National Federation) to open disciplinary proceedings against the rider.
- The external legal counsel and the Legal Anti-Doping Service both consider that the case should not be pursued. In this case, no disciplinary proceedings will be initiated. The UCI, National Anti-Doping Organisation, National Federation and WADA are informed accordingly.
- The external legal counsel and the Legal Anti-Doping Service cannot reach agreement on whether it is appropriate to open proceedings against the rider or not or on the sanction that should apply, or the case raises a point of principle. In this event, the UCI Anti-Doping Policy Board makes a decision, possibly in consultation with WADA. However, this is done without knowledge of the rider's identity.
Adverse analytical finding for the biological passport
The Legal Anti-Doping Service is informed by the CADF if an abnormal biological profile has been identified. If the Service considers that there is no case to investigate, it will inform the external legal counsel of this (without revealing the rider's name). In the event of disagreement on this point, the UCI Anti-Doping Policy Board shall reach a decision and may consult WADA. If the Legal Anti-Doping Service and the external legal counsel both consider that there is cause to investigate, the Service proceeds as follows:
- notifies the rider of the suspicions against him or her, as well as WADA (in confidence),
- sends the rider and WADA a copy of the documents that demonstrate the potential infringement,
- invites the rider to provide explanations of the profile,
- informs the rider's National Anti-Doping Organisation, if an agreement with this body allows this type of information to be shared.
Once the rider has given an explanation (which may be made public if the rider so desires; by default the explanation is confidential), this is submitted to a group of experts. At this time, either the group of experts does not have a unanimous opinion that there is cause to pursue the case, and thus the case is closed, or all three experts believe that there is a breach of the anti-doping rules and request the Legal Anti-Doping Service to continue considering the case. The Service consults the external legal counsel on the appropriateness of pursuing proceedings, still without revealing the identity of the rider. The situations described above (agreement or not between the Legal Anti-Doping Service and the external legal counsel on the appropriateness of opening disciplinary proceedings or not) may then arise. The same principles of cooperation between these two actors, with the option of resorting to the UCI Anti-Doping Policy Board, apply.
Breach of requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing
The CADF informs the Legal Anti-Doping Service if it considers that a rider is guilty of a whereabouts filing failure. The Service then notifies the rider and invites him or her to explain the reason for the failure. On this basis, the Service decides whether or not to record the filing failure and informs the rider. The rider may request the UCI Anti-doping Commission to re-examine the case. If a rider accumulates three failures over a period of 18 months, this constitutes a breach of the anti-doping rules. As described previously, the Legal Anti-Doping Service then consults the external legal counsel without revealing the rider's identity. The process continues in accordance with the same principles of cooperation between the Legal Anti-Doping Service and external legal counsel (with the option of resorting to the UCI Anti-Doping Policy Board) as described above.
Non-analytical breach of anti-doping rules
The procedure applicable in the event of a potential non-analytical breach is very similar to the procedure that applies for an adverse analytical finding.
The CADF informs the Legal Anti-Doping Service of the existence of an apparent non-analytical breach of the anti-doping rules. The Legal Anti-Doping Service investigates the case as follows:
- notifies the rider, offering him or her the opportunity to provide an explanation, then,
- gathers information from the appropriate sources (e.g. the relevant National Federation).
The Legal Anti-Doping Service may however inform the external legal counsel in advance if there are doubts over the appropriateness of initiating proceedings. As described previously, disagreement between the two bodies will be resolved by the Anti-Doping Policy Board.
Once the Legal Anti-Doping Service has gathered information from the rider and other relevant sources, it again contacts the external legal counsel. The process of managing the results then continues in accordance with the same principles of cooperation between the Legal Anti-Doping Service and the external legal counsel, and with the same option of resorting to the Anti-Doping Policy Board, as described above.