WADA Removes Tunisian Anti-Doping Organization from Non-Compliant List, Urges Release of Officials

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Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia

WADA Removes Tunisian Anti-Doping Organization from Non-Compliant List, Urges Release of Officials

The World Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday removed Tunisia’s Anti-Doping Organization (ANAD) from its non-compliant list, a decision back-dated to May 8, before an incident that led to firings and arrests within the country.

A day earlier, it urged the Tunisian government to release sports officials arrested for following WADA policies in a row over the nation’s compliance with the international doping regime.

In the fall, ANAD had been ruled non-compliant in implementing aspects of the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code. Following notification and a period to make modifications, ANAD had not made necessary fixes, leading to WADA on April 8 sending formal notice of non-compliance, effective April 30.

That decision precipitated a situation on Friday, March 10 in which, per the non-compliant status, Tunisia was barred from flying the national flag at a national swim meet. That drew the ire of president Kais Saied, who ordered the dissolution of the board of ANAD, the Tunisian Swimming Federation and threw seven officials in jail for good measure.

However … WADA revealed Wednesday that it had “received confirmation that the required governmental decree had entered into force” on May 2. A Compliance Review Committee agreed on May 8 – that is, before the meet in Tunis that set off this escalation of the row – to remove ANAD from non-compliance. The communique seven days later found officials fired and in jail.

On Tuesday, WADA released a statement supporting the arrested ANAD director general, saying he was, “simply trying to abide by the consequences of ANAD’s non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.”

“WADA supports the efforts of ANAD and International Federations to uphold the decision by the WADA Executive Committee to assert non-compliance in this case,” WADA said Tuesday. “Reports that the ANAD Director General has been arrested for doing so is a matter of grave concern. WADA calls for his immediate and unconditional release from custody, as well as the dropping of any charges made against him pertaining to this.”

A day later, it made the non-compliance go away, a move that five days earlier would’ve prevented the entire imbroglio.

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