GAINING KNOWLEDGE TO COMPETE WITH CONFIDENCE: THE ITA BUILDING AND IMPLEMENTING CLEAN SPORT EDUCATION PLAN FOR FIS

The International Ski Federation (FIS) has partnered with the International Testing Agency (ITA) to build and implement an Education Plan compliant with the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code and new International Standard for Education.

Being prepared for doping control, having awareness about athletes’ rights and responsibilities, knowing the right tools to check medications and supplements, correctly submitting whereabouts information – these and many more topics are essential knowledge for every top-level athlete. However, these issues are complex and should be brought to the attention of the athlete in the right form at the right time in their career, because it is ultimately their responsibility to protect themselves from both intentional and inadvertent doping.

In order to protect and empower the athletes and all of the FIS community as they navigate the anti-doping system, the world governing body for skiing and snowboarding has partnered with the ITA to develop a comprehensive clean sport education program. The partnership has come into effect in September 2020 and will last for a first term until the end of 2021.

In a first step, the ITA is developing an Education Plan for FIS in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) International Standard for Education, that will come into effect in the beginning of 2021. The ITA will also provide consultative support to ensure that said Education Plan is fully compliant with the incoming 2021 World Anti-Doping Code that makes anti-doping education compulsory for Code Signatories for the first time.

In a second step, and in collaboration with FIS, the ITA will elaborate a strategy for the implementation of the plan for different target groups, including athletes, coaches and other Athlete Support Personnel. FIS has also partnered with an academic institution to evaluate, track and report on the Federation’s education program. The ITA will work closely with the Universität für Gesundheitswissenschaften, Medizinische Informatik und Technik (UMIT) to make sure that the right metrics are in place to measure the growth and effectiveness of the education efforts.

“Education and prevention are key elements of the clean sport landscape, but they are also very different from other anti-doping program components that can be fully delegated. Education needs to be developed and delivered in close collaboration with a sporting body and I am thrilled that my FIS colleagues fully embrace this approach. This cooperation between FIS, ITA and UMIT is a progressive initiative for clean sport education that combines our respective strengths and resources in order to protect and empower FIS athletes and the larger sports community”, says Olya Abasolo, ITA Education Manager.

“The FIS Council and FIS Athletes Commission have led the way for making this possible and we are looking forward to bringing this initiative into practice. An initiative which is based on best-available expertise and scientific knowledge from our partners at the ITA and UMIT. Strengthening the existing FIS educational efforts is an important next step to continuously grow with international best practices as well as the needs from the athletes perspective”, outlines Sarah Fussek, FIS Integrity Manager.