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Bermuda banned from flying flag at major sports events

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Dara Alizadeh carries the Bermuda flag at the Olympic Games

Bermuda runs the risk of not being allowed to fly its flag at the upcoming Pan American Games in Chile after the island was found to be noncompliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

At a Wada executive committee meeting held in Shanghai, on Friday, Wada’s executive board agreed to follow a recommendation from its Compliance Review Committee to declare Bermuda’s national anti-doping authority as noncompliant owing to a failure to appropriately implement the Wada Code into its legal system.

As a result, representatives of the Bermuda Sports Anti-Doping Authority, as well as the island itself, face a number of consequences.

Most notably the island cannot be awarded the right to host regional, continental and world championships or events run by major organisations, while the Bermuda flag is not permitted to be flown at those events.

That ruling would include this year’s Pan American Games, which will be held in Santiago from October 20 to November 5, meaning the flag will not be flown at the opening ceremony nor at the podium should a Bermudian athlete win a medal.

Consequences implemented: Bermuda’s National Anti-Doping Authority has been declared as noncompliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency

Under Article 9.3.1 of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories, Bermuda have been given 21 days following the date of receipt of the formal notice of noncompliance to dispute Wada’s assertion of noncompliance, as well as the consequences and/or the reinstatement conditions proposed by the agency.

The latest ruling means Bermuda and South Africa are added to Wada’s compliance watchlist along with the national anti-doping organisations of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Mongolia, Morocco and the Philippines.

Wada has also declared Panam Sports noncompliant with its anti-doping code less than a month before the Pan American Games.

The decision was made owing to a failure by the organisation to make “critical corrective actions to their anti-doping programme by an agreed deadline”.

As a result, there could be close supervision of the entire testing programme implemented by Panam Sports at its events, which could include next month’s Games, as well as the Parapan American Games, due to follow from November 17 to 26, until reinstated.

The sanctions come just eight months after Owen Darrell, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, represented Bermuda at the annual World Anti-Doping Agency Forum in Jamaica.

Speakers at the event included Witold Banka, president of Wada.

In response to the situation, Darrell said in a statement: “The Bermuda Government is committed to providing a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) compliant and clean competition platform for our athletes. The recent decision by Wada to label Bermuda as noncompliant is disappointing; however we are working closely with Wada technical officers in both the Latin American Regional Office and in Wada headquarters.

“All technical staff are currently reviewing the draft amendments to Bermuda’s Anti-Doping in Sport Act. The legislation will fulfil Bermuda’s obligations in complying with the Wada Code, and we hope to have a positive outcome within the month.

“The World Anti-Doping Programme has expanded significantly since the commencement of the Anti-Doping in Sport Act in 2012 and no amendments have been made since its inception.

“Wada requested that the Bermuda Sports Anti-Doping Agency undertake a thorough review of the Anti-Doping in Sport Act to bring it into compliance with the Wada Code. The Code is a core document that provides the framework for anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organisations and public authorities around the world. Bsada submitted its recommendations for amendments to the Act and the Government agreed to all of them.

“While we are addressing the implementation of the proposed legislation, the Bermuda Government continues to support the testing regime carried out by Bsada. We will continue to work closely with Wada, Bermuda’s athletes and Bermuda’s sporting clubs to fight against doping and to protect the rights and health of our athletes.

“Bermuda [Bsada] has an excellent working relationship with Wada and it is regrettable that we are in this situation. We look forward to the commencement of this legislation later this year.”

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Published September 25, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated September 25, 2023 at 8:16 pm)

Bermuda banned from flying flag at major sports events

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