The World Flying Disc Federation announces approval of the WFDF Anti-Doping Rules Version 2.0 (based upon 2009 revised WADA Code) during the 2011 WFDF Congress held August 27 in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. The Code was approved by all members present with one abstention and was effective as of 1 September 2011. The WFDF Anti-Doping Program Plan 2011-2013 was also approved by Congress members with one abstention.
Doping is defined as the use by a player of prohibited substances or methods in order to enhance his/her sport performance. The current (2009) version of the World Anti-Doping Code states its fundamental rationale: “Anti-doping programs seek to preserve what is intrinsically valuable about sport. This intrinsic value is often referred to as “the spirit of sport”, it is the essence of Olympism; it is how we play true. The spirit of sport is the celebration of the human spirit, body and mind, and is characterized by the following values: ethics, fair play and honesty; health; excellence in performance; character and education; fun and joy; teamwork; dedication and commitment; respect for rules and laws; respect for self and other participants; courage; community and solidarity. Doping is fundamentally contrary to the spirit of sport.”
Ultimate and other flying disc sport athletes and administrators likely find this statement by WADA very familiar. Much of the rationale is captured under the “Spirit of the Game” that is such an integral part of flying disc sports. Notwithstanding, anti-doping is a funny concept for disc sports, or Ultimate in particular as that is our one Disc Sport involved with the Olympic Movement at present. WADA’s motto is “play true.” Spirit of the Game in Ultimate is all about playing fairly, not cheating, and at its essence that is what WADA is trying to instill in so many sports where doping in some form gives an unfair advantage to some athlete or team, and is a form of cheating. For Ultimate, where adherence to not only the letter but the spirit of the rules is an obligation for each individual player, the idea of bringing in an outside arbiter — a drug-tester, in effect a referee – is anathema to what we are trying to exhibit to the world. However, it is unfortunate that, given the level of cheating in so many other sports, drug testing is now mandatory. Over the last year, it has become clear that — if (a) our member associations want to receive recognition from their government or national Olympic or other sports federation, (b) we want flying disc sports and our athletes to obtain the recognition they deserve, and (c) WFDF wishes to remain a part of the Olympic Movement through SportAccord and the World Games — we are now obligated to institute a comprehensive anti-doping program. We have done our best to design an anti-doping program where the fundamental elements of Spirit of the Game are preserved and yet we are still deemed by WADA to be in full compliance with the Code.
Education is the first and most important step in WFDF’s anti-doping program. Some basic materials are available on the WFDF website and will be distributed to athletes through Member Associations. Additional information can also be found at the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) website at www.wada-ama.org.
The next step for us will be the creation of the WFDF Medical and Anti-Doping Committee (MADC) and the WFDF Doping Control Panel (DCP). The MADC will be comprised of at least three physicians demonstrating specialized knowledge of anti-doping and sports, and will be responsible for review of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (“TUEs”) submitted by WFDF athletes. The three members of the DCP will be responsible for the results management process and will provide medical and legal expertise. As noted in the WFDF Anti-Doping Plan, WFDF will keep all testing results and information strictly confidential within WFDF, and the MADC and DCP will assist in insuring this commitment is upheld, until the final results of any investigation are completed. Only positive results and resulting sanctions after any appeals will be made public.
Importantly, athletes who plan to participate in a WFDF World Championship event need to become aware if they are taking certain substances for medicinal or therapeutic reasons that are included in the WADA Prohibited List. It is important that those players obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption prior to participating in any WFDF event or they will run the risk being disqualified and possibly banned from future competition. In order to obtain a TUE, an athlete must visit a physician to verify that the prohibited substance or method is a necessary treatment and must complete the TUE application form. That form is then sent to the Medical & Anti-Doping Committee for approval. The athlete is later notified when approval has been granted and over what timeframe that approval applies. TUEs obtained from National (ie government-run) Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) will be recognized by WFDF at the international level as well.
A pilot program will be introduced at the Asian Oceanic Ultimate Championship (AOUC) in Chinese Taipei this December with some limited testing. The comprehensive program as outlined in the WFDF Anti-Doping Plan — and as approved by WADA — will go into force in 2012. This will include a limited Registered Testing Pool (RTP) and testing at the World Ultimate and Guts Championship (WUGC) next July in Japan. Testing at a national level by Member Associations is currently not required under our 2011-2013 Plan although all Members are encouraged to maintain an educational program.
Members of WFDF are invited to nominate medical and/or legal experts to join the MADC and DCP. Nominations are encouraged by September 30 and should be sent to WFDF executive director, Volker Bernardi at firstname.lastname@example.org.