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Monday December 06, 2021

WADA declares anti-doping body illegal

November 24, 2021
WADA declares anti-doping body illegal

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has avoided international suspension but the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) faced huge embarrassment when World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared the government-backed National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) illegal and barred it from carrying out any official activity in Pakistan.

It has upheld the sanctity of the Anti-Doping Organization of Pakistan (ADOP) headed by Dr Waqar Ahmed, giving it full authority to perform tests.

On September 15 through a notification, Minister for IPC Dr Fehmida Mirza created/established a parallel anti-doping body (NADO). It was headed by the director general Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) as chairman with minister for IPC as its patron-in-chief.

The ministry intimated federations and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) of the formation of the NADO with the directions to coordinate with it for anti-doping testing.

This correspondent broke the story regarding establishment of the NADO in September 18 issue of ‘The News’. The WADA immediately reacted and sent a letter of explanation to the ministry on ‘The News’ report.

Receiving no response from the ministry, WADA again sent a reminder (The News story on October 18) and then the second and the last reminder (The News story on November 3), setting November 15 as deadline to furnish the answer.

After failing to get any response from the ministry, NADO/RADO Relations Director (WADA) Tom May sent a letter to Dr Fehmida on November 22, declaring the newly-formed NADO as illegal while confirming that the ADOP that has been working in Pakistan since 2007 is the sole representative of WADA.

The letter says: “Dear federal minister, we are writing as a follow up to our letter dated September 25 and subsequent emails of October 13 and November 1, 2021. Since we have not received any response to our inquiries related to the media reports of the establishment of a new NADO in Pakistan, we will proceed based on our official records and therefore would like to confirm the following: The Anti-Doping Organization of Pakistan (ADOP) is the official signatory to the World Anti- Doping Code (‘Code’), and therefore acts as the only NADO in Pakistan.

“ADOP’s anti-doping rules, approved by WADA as being in line with the 2021 Code in December 2020, are the applicable anti-doping rules in Pakistan. The adoption of ADOP’s anti-doping rules, confirmed by ADOP on December 20, 2020, provides ADOP with the jurisdiction to implement an anti-doping program in Pakistan.

“The reported new NADO, if it does exist, is not a WADA Code signatory and does not have Code compliant anti-doping rules in place. Therefore, it does not have the authority to implement anti-doping activities in Pakistan.”

All the efforts to get the ministry’s point of view went fruitless. “I am not in the city. I will call you tomorrow,” a ministry official said.

When ‘The News’ approached Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Lt Gen (r) Arif Hasan, he said that such a move was expected to bring embarrassment for the country. “Pakistan was lucky to avoid suspension but it is indeed huge embarrassment for the country. The ministry should have stayed out of this.”

Arif added that he was on record to have opposed the idea. “I had opposed in the PSB Board’s meeting any step which would be against the WADA Rules.”