The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently implemented new and stricter “whereabouts requirements” for athletes. One of the additions to its previous set of requirements has some athletes speaking out.
According to the new code, athletes will be required to note a 60-minute time-slot for every day of the upcoming (3-month) quarter during which they will be available and accessible for out of competition testing at a specific location.
Athletes must choose a 60-minute time-slot between the hours of 6:00am and 11:00pm. For example, an athlete can list 6:00-7:00am Sunday through Saturday at their primary residence as their 60-minute window. Athletes are responsible for being present in the specified location for the entire 60 minutes. If a tester shows up at the location and the athlete is not present, the athlete could accrue a Missed Test.
Williams echoed the same sentiment as many others: that this new code is going to be difficult to follow.
“I jump from city to city all the time. First of all, I never tell people where I am because I like to do my own thing,” Williams said.
The European Elite Athletes Association has said that the rule “effectively places elite players under house arrest for one hour each day, 365 days a year.”
“Like everyone else, professional sportsmen are protected by European employment legislation and human rights laws,” EU Athletes president Yves Kummer said. “There is no doubt that certain aspects of the WADA Code interfere with players rights and we have asked the EC to decide whether this is lawful.”
Some athletes, while acknowledging that the new rules will be inconvenient, are willing to make the sacrifice in order for their sport to be clean. Others claim that the new rules are a direct invasion of privacy.
WADA has invited athletes’ groups for a meeting to defend the whereabouts rule. WADA Director General David Howman said athletes should study the rules themselves. And if that is not sufficient, “give me a call, or come to one of the meetings. Find out something more before you open your mouth,” Howman told the Associated.