— Published 15 February 2021

The senate delays World Anti-Doping Code compliance

Bad signal. With less than six months from the Tokyo 2020 Games, and less than four years until Paris 2024, the Senate has delayed the adoption of the draft law to transpose the World Anti-Doping Code in France. The text had yet to be adopted unanimously by the National Assembly at the beginning of last December at first reading, but it must also be voted on by the Senators to become law. Obviously, anything but a formality. The Senate refused to adopt the bill in committee, deeming its provisions “too vague“. Senators are asking the government for “commitments” on the status of the new anti-doping laboratory and the investigative powers of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD). Otherwise, the Senate could make changes to the text, and consequently delay its final adoption. For French sport, such a scenario would be anything but anecdotal. France is in fact supposed to legally comply with the new World Anti-Doping Code from January 1st, 2021, in particular by removing the statutory link between its analysis laboratory and the AFLD. The latter received a letter on January 11th from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) noting France’s failings in transcribing the World Code into domestic law. WADA called on France to comply with the new international regulations by April 12th. In the event of non-compliance, France could be subject to sanctions, in particular for the participation of its athletes in international sports competitions.