The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has issued a warning stating that Nigerian athletes may face disqualification from representing their country in the 2024 Olympics in Paris if the Nigerian Anti-Doping Committee (NADC) fails to adhere to the regulations set forth in the World Anti-Doping Code.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has accused the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) of Nigeria, as well as those of Venezuela and Tunisia, of being non-compliant with the Code. This accusation was made during WADA’s executive committee meeting in Montreal, Canada, held last Thursday.
WADA said that the “Nigerian NADO has still not addressed several critical requirements following an audit carried out by WADA in late 2022” (October 19-20, 2022).
If the aforementioned disciplinary action is implemented, athletes from Nigeria who successfully qualify for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, France, in the following year will be deprived of the opportunity to proudly represent their nation under its national flag, unless the country promptly addresses the prevailing issue prior to the said event.
They will only be able to attend as neutral athletes, while Nigeria’s national anthem will also not be sung if any of the athletes win a medal in any of the events.
It listed the consequences for Nigeria’s actions as follows:
- The Nigeria NADO will lose its WADA Privileges, until the reinstatement conditions set out below are met (see the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS) Article B.3.1 (a)), i.e.:
- In accordance with the relevant provisions of WADA’s Statutes, the Nigerian NADO’s Representatives (as defined in the Code) will be ineligible to hold any WADA office or any position as a member of any WADA board or committee or other body (including but not limited to membership on WADA’s Foundation Board, the Executive Committee, any Standing Committee, and any other committee).
- The Nigeria NADO will be ineligible to host any event hosted or organized or co-hosted or coorganized by WADA.
- The Nigeria NADO’s Representatives will be ineligible to participate in any WADA Independent Observer Program or WADA Outreach Program or other WADA activities.
- The Nigeria NADO will not receive any WADA funding (either directly or indirectly) relating to the development of specific activities or participation in specific programs.
- The Nigeria NADO’s Representatives will be ineligible to sit as members of the boards or committees or other bodies of any Signatory (or its members) or association of Signatories, until the reinstatement conditions set out below are met (see ISCCS Article B.3.1 (d));
- Nigeria will not be awarded the right to host regional, continental and World Championships, and Events organized by Major Event Organizations, until the reinstatement conditions set out below are met (see ISCCS Article B.3.1 (e.1));
- Nigeria’s flag will not be flown at regional, continental and World Championships, and Events, organized by Major Event Organizations (other than the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games), until the reinstatement conditions set out below are met (see ISCCS Article 3.1 (e.2)); and
- Nigeria’s flag will not be flown at the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, until the reinstatement conditions set out below are met (see ISCCS Article B.3.1 (e.3)).
Nigeria is not the only country that has faced such a ban from the Olympics for doping or other reasons. Russia was banned from participating in the Olympics, World Championships, or Paralympics for four years (2019-2023) by WADA for supporting doping among athletes.
Russian athletes who were cleared of doping could only compete under a neutral flag and without their national anthem. WADA says it will announce its decision on December 8.