By David Owen

WADA will work closely with national anti-doping organisations to help implement the new World Anti-Doping Code ©Getty ImagesThe World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) says it will "work closely" with national anti-doping organisations (NADOs) and other stakeholders in coming months to help them to implement changes brought about by the new World Anti-Doping Code efficiently and effectively.

The Montreal-based agency was responding to a request for a reaction to insidethegames' exclusive disclosure that the Dutch NADO - the Doping Autoriteit - is facing the prospect of a cut in the number of tests it can afford to conduct after the new code comes into effect on January 1.

This is because of stipulations in the new code that require additional analyses and will hence almost certainly increase the cost of some tests.

Herman Ram, director of the National Lottery-funded Autoriteit, told insidethegames that if his testing budget did not increase, "I have to make choices".

Ram went on: "The most simple solution is decreasing the number of tests, but that is not the most sensible approach."

Herman Ram, director of The Netherlands' National Lottery-funded Autoriteit, fears his anti-doping work will be compromised in the future due to budgetary restraints ©Getty ImagesHerman Ram, director of The Netherlands' National Lottery-funded Autoriteit, fears his anti-doping work will be compromised in the future due to budgetary restraints ©Getty Images

In its response, WADA said that the new code required NADOs to "adopt a 'smarter' approach to testing, through their test distribution plans and through the analysis of samples."

The agency continued: "By implementing the technical document for sport specific analysis, and by conducting the required risk assessments [NADOs] may indeed find themselves doing fewer tests than previously due to the fact that they are testing the right athletes at the right time, rather than taking a 'one size fits all' approach to testing.

"There is an expectation that from next year testing programmes will be more resourceful and will improve."

WADA went on: "This more effective approach to testing, coupled with use of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), will help foster programmes that focus not so much on the number of tests but on the quality of testing.

"WADA will work closely with stakeholders in the coming months to help them implement the changes effectively, so that they have efficient testing programs that act as a deterrent to those athletes considering cheating.

"This will be central to WADA's efforts to continue to protect the clean athletes who want to compete honestly and fairly."

One possible element that Ram suggests may ease pressure on those NADOs whose costs have been rising faster than their budgets is that increases in the volume of erythropoietin (EPO) and human growth hormone (hGH) tests as a consequence of the new rules might trigger a reduction in the unit cost of those tests.

On this point, WADA commented: "Under the revised code, [NADOs] have the ability to select their preferred laboratory for the analysis of samples.

"Organisations have the ability to communicate with the laboratories and negotiate any lower unit costs that may result from economies of scale.

"WADA will continue to play its part in facilitating greater transparency in laboratory costs."

The worry, of course, is that if a significant number of NADOs are driven to cut back on the number of samples collected and analysed for economic, as opposed to tactical, reasons, drug cheats may find it easier to escape undetected.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
November 2014: Exclusive: New anti-doping code may lead to cuts in the number of tests in the Netherlands - and elsewhere
May 2013: WADA confirms details of revision to World Anti-Doping Code