UK Anti-Doping Issues Statement On WADA Cyber Attack

UK Anti-Doping has issued a statement in which it strongly condemned the recent release of private medical data of many athletes.

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Recently, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed that a Russian cyber espionage group operator by the name of Tsar Team (APT28), also known as Fancy Bear, illegally gained access to the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database of WADA via an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-created account for the Rio 2016 Games.

Olivier Niggli, Director General of WADA, said the World Anti-Doping Agency deeply regrets this situation and is very conscious of the threat that it represents to athletes whose confidential information has been divulged through this criminal act. Niggli added we are reaching out to stakeholders, such as the IOC, International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), regarding the specific athletes impacted and commented that WADA condemns these ongoing cyber-attacks that are being carried out in an attempt to undermine WADA and the global anti-doping system. Niggli went on to comment that WADA has been informed by law enforcement authorities that these attacks are originating out of Russia and added let it be known that these criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia further to the outcomes of the Agency’s independent McLaren Investigation Report.

UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead said WADA has confirmed that information pertaining to British athletes, obtained through an IOC ADAMS account created for the Rio 2016 Games, has been published online without prior permission of the athletes concerned. Sapstead added UK Anti-Doping strongly condemns actions of this nature and we are appalled that five members of Team GB have had their private data published illegally online and added not only does it undermine our work and the protection of clean sport, but it is grossly unfair to the athletes, whose personal data has been put at risk.

The UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive also said we continue to treat this matter with the utmost concern and seriousness, and we are working hard with WADA to urgently determine what impact, if any, this may have on other British athletes, and exactly what information may have been compromised. Sapstead also remarked we wrote to all members of Team GB as a precaution to let them know that their information may be at risk and added we spoke to all those already affected, and are in the process of contacting others who we believe are most likely to be at risk, to provide them with additional support.

Sapstead defended applications for Therapeutic Use Exemptions of the athletes in question. She remarked TUEs in the United Kingdom are subject to a strict and independent process and added that applications submitted to UK Anti-Doping are assessed by at least three independent medics and are then referred to the World Anti-Doping Agency that has further independent oversight of applications. Sapstead also said this robust process is in place to ensure that TUEs are granted based solely on medical need - they are not an indication of dopin and added they are there to support the clean athlete’s right to compete, despite a medical condition.

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