The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published the 2021 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods (List); the 2021 Summary of Major Modifications and Explanatory Notes; and the 2021 Monitoring Program. The 2021 List, which has been redesigned in order to improve navigation and usability for athletes and their support personnel, was approved by WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) during its meeting on 14-15 September 2020 and comes into force on 1 January 2021.
The List is one of the International Standards that are mandatory for all Signatories of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code). It designates what substances and methods are prohibited both in- and out-of-competition and which substances are banned in particular sports.
WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said:
“WADA is pleased to publish the 2021 Prohibited List in its newly designed format; which, we believe, will be easier for athletes and their entourage to navigate. We kindly ask athletes, their entourage and all stakeholders to review the List carefully and to take particular note of this year’s modifications to avoid inadvertent use of substances and methods that are prohibited in sport for 2021.”
“Every year, the List undergoes extensive consultation involving some of the most qualified experts in the fields of science and medicine, including chemistry, endocrinology, haematology and pharmacology. This helps to ensure that any substance or method that may provide performance enhancement, or that may negatively impact athlete health or the spirit of sport, are considered in a timely manner so as to maintain a level playing field for clean athletes.”
List Review Process
Every year, the List’s revision process is led by WADA, beginning with an initial meeting in January and concluding with the publication of the List by 1 October. This is an extensive consultation process that includes WADA’s List Expert Group gathering information including the latest scientific and medical research, trends, and intelligence gathered from law enforcement and pharmaceutical companies; circulating a draft List among stakeholders; taking their submissions into consideration and revising the draft, followed by review by the Agency’s Health, Medical and Research (HMR) Committee. The HMR Committee then makes its recommendations to the WADA ExCo, which approves the List during its September meeting.
For a substance or method to be added to the List, it must be determined that it meets at least two of the following three criteria:
- It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance
- It represents an actual or potential health risk to the athletes
- It violates the spirit of sport
The List is released three months ahead of it taking effect so that athletes and their entourage can acquaint themselves with any modifications. Ultimately, athletes are responsible for prohibited substances found in their body and prohibited methods found to have been used. Athlete entourage are also liable for Anti-Doping Rule Violations if determined to be complicit. Consequently, if there is any doubt as to the status of a substance or method, it is important that they contact their respective Anti-Doping Organization (International Federation or National Anti-Doping Organization) for advice.
It should be noted that for athletes who have a legitimate medical reason for using a prohibited substance or method that is on the List, they may be accommodated if they meet the criteria outlined in the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE). The TUE Program is a rigorous and necessary part of elite sport which has overwhelming acceptance from athletes, physicians and anti-doping stakeholders.
Languages and Formats
The 2021 Prohibited List; the 2021 Summary of Modifications and Explanatory Notes; and the 2021 Monitoring Program are available for download on WADA’s website in English and French with Spanish to follow in the coming weeks.
The List’s mobile-friendly digital edition will go live on 1 January 2021.