(Reuters) – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has canceled next month’s annual symposium, the main event on the annual global anti-doping calendar, and related athlete session in Switzerland because of the coronavirus, it said on Friday.
The event was scheduled to be held from March 17-19 in Lausanne but WADA decided to cancel it based on the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health’s decision to ban gatherings of more than 1,000 people until March 15.
“It was a difficult decision as the event attracts almost 1,000 participants from around the world every year; however, it was necessary to ensure the health and safety of the Agency’s staff and stakeholder community,” WADA President Witold Banka said in a news release.
“The Agency commits to ensuring that most of the elements of the symposium program are delivered via alternative means over the coming weeks and months.”
The symposium was primarily aimed at assisting World Anti-Doping Code Signatories in their adjustment to, and implementation of, the 2021 Code and International Standards.
WADA also said it will continue monitoring the coronavirus situation, based on expert information from the World Health Organization, and will put other measures in place as needed related to staff and stakeholder travel.
The symposium is one of many international events in the sporting world that have been hit by the coronavirus, with some competitions being postponed and others canceled outright.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)