The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) concluded its 2024 Global Education Conference in Cannes, France, with a clear call to action for anti-doping stakeholders internationally: “stronger steps must be taken to further protect minors in sport.”

This fourth edition of the conference, which kicked off on 27 February, wrapped up with WADA stating its intentions to make anti-doping education mandatory for minors through revisions to the International Standard for Education (ISE) for Signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code, while also encouraging policy or legislative changes by Governments of the world.

“As evidenced by the efforts of our Education Department to put together this enlightening and productive conference, WADA has fully embraced education and made it a priority. It is time for all Anti-Doping Organizations and Governments to do the same. Athletes must be supported and equipped with the tools they need to compete clean throughout their careers. That process must start early with a positive introduction to the anti-doping system. Children who are competing at an elite level of sport must be protected by ensuring they and their support personnel receive strong, values-based education at the earliest possible stage.”

WADA President Witold Bańka

The GEC was hosted by the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD) and welcomed more than 400 participants from around the globe. The event brought together anti-doping practitioners, researchers, Government officials, athletes, and representatives of International Sport movement, among them AIMS was represented by Mr. Joern Verleger (IFA President) and Mr. Michal Buchel (AIMS Council Member). Participants shared and discussed emerging trends, contributed to education program development, and examined how education can continue to further anti- doping efforts internationally.

“The record number of participants in Cannes for this edition of the conference is a good sign for the future of anti-doping education.”

Chair of WADA’s Education Committee, Kady Kanouté Tounkara

IFA President, Joern Verleger, said: “The WADA Global Education Conference in Cannes has changed by view on our clean sport education agenda. We as federations have to change our compliance mindset to a prevention mindset and should much more focus on prevention, value-based education and collaboration. The conference demonstrated the values of education (not only in sports) and the importance of continuous improvement through monitoring and evaluation of existing programmes and guidelines. It was a unique opportunity for better networking between federations and the education sector.”

AIMS Council Member, Michal Buchel, added: “Education is essential to reduce the risk of doping through negligence. It is also fundamental to allow all athletes to train and prepare for competitions with self-confidence. The absence of information and understanding can lead to involuntary violations of anti-doping rules. This can have serious consequences for an athlete’s career, and AIMS will continue to work with WADA and ITA to keeping the level field of play by strengthening collaboration and proposing for its members the value-based education and to developing clean sport behaviours.”