Dear Athletes, Partners, Colleagues and Visitors,
We hope that this message finds you well and in good health given the current circumstances. We would like to share some information on the ITA’s activities during the current Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
We will update this information regularly in order to reflect the current state of our operations. In these extremely difficult times, our thoughts go first and foremost to those directly affected by the virus. Our appreciation goes as well to all the medical personnel standing day by day at the front line and doing their best efforts to contain the pandemic.
The current crisis is affecting all sectors of society to its core. Sport is no exception to that. Sporting events gather masses every week and we all understand that as part of Sport’s responsibility to society, sporting events scheduled in the coming days have had to be canceled or postponed to quickly contain the spread of the virus. This situation is, of course, impacting anti-doping activities.
With regard to international testing matters and the current state of anti-doping efforts by the ITA across the world, the absolute priority continues to be the protection of the health of all athletes and doping control personnel. The ITA is, however, working hard with all partners to maintain wherever possible the integrity and continuity of our existing anti-doping programmes. In several countries heavily affected by Covid-19, governments have forbidden all non-essential activities to limit physical contacts between people. In these regions, maintaining anti-doping testing at all cost without due care to the health of athletes and doping control personnel would be both against the law and irresponsible.
The ITA has, therefore, had to temporarily postpone a number of test missions and continues to monitor the situation carefully country by country to ensure that the right balance is struck between public health first and anti-doping efforts second. Please note that any test mission on a particular athlete that cannot be conducted at this point in time by the ITA is rescheduled to the next earliest available opportunity.
Furthermore, as you may know, our headquarters are situated in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Swiss Federal government has declared that an ‘extraordinary situation’ exists in Switzerland due to the coronavirus and has tightened existing measures and enacted new ones in order to curb the spread of the virus. Please find their information here.
As a result, the ITA HQ is currently not accessible to visitors. However, all necessary sanitary and security measures have been implemented to protect the health of ITA employees whilst ensuring full business continuity through remote work and other measures. In addition, restricted on-site presence is maintained to guarantee essential functions in full compliance with governmental directives.
Please note that all athletes included in testing pools may still be tested at any time and must continue to upload their whereabouts information as per the World Anti-doping Code and their applicable International Federations’ regulations. For protective measures, doping control personnel have been required to implement appropriate rules of conduct and sanitary precautions adapted by each individual country and relevant national anti-doping organisation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
We also maintain our work for the Tokyo 2020 ITA Pre-Games Expert Group, which aims at detecting and closing testing gaps around the world in the lead up to the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo this year. Current testing limitations and challenges will be duly taken into account by the Expert Group.
Other ITA activities in the areas of risk assessments, intelligence, Athlete biological passport reviews, therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs), result management and non-eventbased anti-doping education are currently not affected by the situation.
We remain in close contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Regional and National Anti-Doping Organisations (RADOs/NADOs) and our stakeholders to assess the developments of the situation on a daily basis.
We continue to use our best efforts to pursue the fight against doping in sport taking into account these very exceptional circumstances and look forward to overcoming together this pandemic as soon as possible so that the situation can get back to normal.
Should you have any specific questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: On 6 May 2020, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued updated guidance for Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs), focused on the resumption of athlete testing as deconfinement leads to the restart or return to normal of doping control programs in a number of countries around the world.