FLAGGING SPORTS GOVERNANCE
SA lodges an appeal to rescind World Anti-Doping Agency’s non-compliance declaration
The Springboks and the Proteas will be allowed to continue flying the national flag at their respective World Cups after the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport lodged an appeal to have the World Anti-Doping Agency’s non-compliance declaration lifted.
South African sports teams, including the Springboks rugby team and Proteas cricket side — which are currently participating in World Cups — may yet be allowed to continue flying the national flag and singing the national anthem after the minister of sport, arts and culture, Zizi Kodwa, “pulled out all the stops”.
As reported by Daily Maverick, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) issued a statement confirming that South Africa had not updated its anti-doping code and had fallen foul of Wada’s mandatory compliance requirements, for which it now faced consequences.
These consequences include not being able to participate in sporting events under the South African flag.
Wada’s revised anti-doping code came into effect on 1 January 2021 and all member countries were expected to update their anti-doping regulations to align with the new code. To date, more than 700 sporting bodies and federations have done so.
South Africa and Bermuda are the only two nations that failed to update their anti-doping codes before the deadline.
“The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and I have pulled out all the stops to resolve the non-compliance by getting the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) Amendment Bill adopted expeditiously,” Kodwa said in a media briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“I presented the Bill to Cabinet. Last week, the Bill was approved by Cabinet and will now be tabled to Parliament. I am confident that Wada will recognise these efforts as a commitment to pass the amended legislation and suspend the non-compliance declaration.
“The responsibility weighed heavy on our shoulders as we have the Springboks and Proteas men competing in World Cups in France and India, respectively.
The deadline to submit to Wada — 13 October — is fast approaching.
“We draw courage from our national Cabinet’s decision on 4 October 2023, last week, to approve the onward processing of the draft Bill,” Kodwa said.
“We are relieved now that the Bill would be subjected to the scrutiny of the state law advisers.
“I have made a special request to the leader of government business for the Bill to be fast-tracked through a parliamentary system.
“I am confident that Wada will recognise the efforts as a commitment to pass the amended legislation and therefore we hope that it will suspend the non-compliance declaration.
“In tandem with all these processes, Saids filed a notice to challenge Wada’s non-compliance declaration against South Africa through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“I believe the grounds for appeal are strong and that the sanctions are not appropriate,” Kodwa said.
Earlier this month, 14 South African athletes at the World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia, were prohibited from flying the national flag.
“The sanction, as it pertains to the flying of the national flag, has created unnecessary hysteria, and punished athletes and players unfairly who are competing for the pride of our nation, South Africa,” Kodwa added.
“The flying of South Africa’s flag at events such as [the] cricket and rugby World Cups will not be affected until [the] CAS rules on this challenge.”
The appeal, which Saids lodged to Wada on Tuesday, 10 October, three days before the deadline, is for consideration to “rescinding the non-compliance declaration”.
“The nature of the appeal which we will lodge … is a notice of intent to dispute, which Saids, as a signatory to the code, will file on behalf of South Africa to Wada,” Khalid Galant, the chief executive officer of Saids said at the media briefing.
“Part of the notice of intent to dispute is first to consider the matters that have already been done, as the minister referred to them, to the Cabinet approval and the process, and for Wada to consider rescinding the non-compliance declaration.
“If Wada does not accept that, they will then file it and it will go forward to [the] CAS.” DM