Whereabouts requirements aren’t always easy or convenient, but accurate and complete Whereabouts information is critical to USADA’s ability to conduct the no-notice, out-of-competition testing that is part of an effective anti-doping program. Out-of-competition testing helps protect clean sport and deter doping by eliminating times that athletes know they won’t be tested and may otherwise use performance-enhancing drugs.
Athletes in the USADA Registered Testing Pool (RTP) are required by the World Anti-Doping Code to submit quarterly Whereabouts and provide Whereabouts updates on an ongoing basis to ensure that they can be located for testing. RTP athletes must provide a full address for their overnight location, and the name and full address of each location where they train, work, or conduct other regularly scheduled activities, as well as the usual time-frames of each activity. RTP athletes must also identify a 60-minute window and location for each day of the quarter, during which they must be available for testing.
The World Anti-Doping Code requires that athletes comply with Whereabouts and testing obligations, and failure to comply with an obligation will result in a Whereabouts Failure.
Are there different Whereabouts Failures?
There are two types of Whereabouts Failures: Filing Failures and Missed Tests.
1. Filing Failure
If an RTP athlete does not file the required Whereabouts information by the quarterly deadline, they are subject to a Filing Failure, which is one type of Whereabouts Failure. Filing Failures can also be issued if the information provided in the initial Whereabouts filing is insufficient or inaccurate (i.e., full addresses, dates, or 60-minute windows are missing).
Highlighting the importance of accurate and complete Whereabouts, a Filing Failure may also be issued if a Doping Control Officer (DCO) makes a reasonable attempt to test an athlete at the locations provided on an athlete’s Whereabouts filing and the athlete cannot be located or confirms they are unavailable.
While Whereabouts do require time and diligence, RTP athletes can sign up for weekly or daily texts or emails if they need additional reminders about the status of their Whereabouts information.
2. Missed Test
RTP athletes can be subject to a Missed Test, which is a second type of Whereabouts Failure, if they are not available for testing during the 60-minute window they have provided on their Whereabouts filing. Importantly, a Missed Test can only be issued if an attempt is made at some point during the identified 60-minute window and the athlete is unavailable.
What is an Unsuccessful Report?
USADA may attempt to test athletes on dates and times outside of the times designated in Whereabouts information. If a DCO makes a reasonable attempt to locate an athlete for no-notice testing and the athlete is not able to be located, or the athlete confirms they are unavailable, the DCO will fill out an Unsuccessful Report Form and submit that to USADA.
This form may also be completed if the athlete is not at the location designated in their Whereabouts filing, which may lead to a Whereabouts Failure. Additionally, this form may be submitted if the athlete could accommodate the DCO’s request to test them but refuses to submit to testing, which may lead to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). The Unsuccessful Report documents the locations and times the DCO attempted to locate the athlete, as well as any additional information regarding the attempt, including phone calls placed or if they had contact with any other individual.
Once the Unsuccessful Report Form is submitted to USADA and reviewed, a decision is made whether to issue an initial Filing Failure or Missed Test, or to begin a case for an anti-doping rule violation. If a Filing Failure or Missed Test notice is issued to an athlete, the Unsuccessful Report Form will be included in their notification of the Whereabouts Failure.
Can an athlete get an Anti-Doping Rule Violation for Whereabouts Failures?
Yes. Any cumulation of three Missed Tests or Filing Failures in a 12-month period can result in a potential ADRV and a period of ineligibility of up to two years for a first violation.