WADA's Annual Symposium is now scheduled for October in 2021 ©Getty Images

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced the postponement of its 2021 Annual Symposium in March due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by coronavirus.

WADA announced in July that the Annual Symposium was scheduled to take place on March 17 and 18 at the SwissTech Convention Centre in Lausanne next year.

The organisation originally said the dates were for planning purposes, with the pandemic potentially leading to changes.

WADA has now confirmed the postponement of the event, adding that it has tentatively booked the venue for an in-person or hybrid Symposium on October 19 and 20.

The 2020 edition of the Annual Symposium was cancelled because of coronavirus.

"WADA is disappointed that its Annual Symposium has been disrupted once again by COVID-19," said Olivier Niggli, WADA director general.

"Given the importance for WADA and the anti-doping community to come together in person, especially following such a long period of social distancing, we hoped to be able to offer a Symposium with in-person and virtual participation in March next year.

WADA hopes it will be able to hold a hybrid event next year ©Getty Images
WADA hopes it will be able to hold a hybrid event next year ©Getty Images

"However, with the current health situation around the world, and the restrictions imposed in Switzerland on gatherings, we were simply not confident that we would be able to offer a programme and networking experience that participants value and are accustomed to.

"Therefore, similar to what WADA did this year after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to COVID-19, we will ensure that key issues that would have been covered will be presented and discussed via alternative means, including webinars."

The event is designed for anti-doping practitioners from International Federations, National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations and Major Event Organisations.

Representatives from Athlete Commissions, Governments, WADA-accredited laboratories and Athlete Passport Management Units will also attend, alongside service providers, researchers and the media.

WADA had also encouraged the participation of Anti-Doping Organisations' athletes and athlete representatives, given the theme of the symposium.

The 16th edition of the symposium was given the title "Partnering to Deliver Clean Sport for Athletes in a New Era".