IWF Executive Board Approves Anti-Doping and Election Eligibility Changes

Three doping violations in one year will now trigger a suspension rather than four.

On Feb. 18, 2021, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Executive Board approved two decisions regarding the Anti-Doping Rules and the candidate eligibility standards for the upcoming Electoral Congress. The Electoral Congress, which occurs on March 26-27, 2021, will determine the next IWF President. 

The two key decisions made, according to the IWF, are as follows:

Anti-Doping Rules

On a recommendation from the Independent Testing Agency (ITA), the Executive Board restored Article 12.3.2 of the IWF Anti-Doping Rules. This article reduces the threshold of doping violations that would trigger suspension proceedings from four to three.


The IWF Independent Ethics and Discipline Commission (EDC) recommended that the independent dispute service Sports Resolutions “appoint an independent panel to fulfill the function of the Eligibility Determination Panel” rather than the EDC. The IWF Executive Board accepted that recommendation.  

The process and criteria that Sports Resolutions will use to determine a candidate’s potential eligibility in the upcoming elections are outlined in the interim rules currently undergoing external legal review. 


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[Related: Weightlifter Sarah Davies Starts Petition Against IWF Executive Board]

In IWF’s announcement, IWF Interim President Dr. Michael Irani says, “Today’s decisions reflect a clear determination…to protect clean weightlifters and promote clean weightlifting. For the first time, the IWF is also carrying out comprehensive eligibility verification of candidates for our elections against clearly-defined criteria.”

IWF Executive Board

This Anti-Doping Rule change comes following backlash from several federation heads and weightlifters alike. They are dissatisfied with the IWF Executive Board’s governance and how the federation is viewed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In December 2020, the IOC announced that it reduced weightlifting’s athlete quota for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games by 76 spots — the most of any sport currently in the IOC. 

Shortly after, the European Weightlifting Federation (EWF) voiced their disappointment with previous IWF Executive Board decisions regarding the Electoral Congress and anti-doping. British Weight Lifting (BWL) CEO Ashley Metcalfe and USA Weightlifting (USAW) CEO Phil Andrews voiced their concerns with the IWF Executive Board’s ability to govern to the standards expected by the IOC, with Metcalfe calling for the IWF Executive Board to “step down” and be replaced. BWL will not support the candidacy of Irani during the upcoming election, effectively making him ineligible.

BarBend will update this story as more information regarding the IWF Electoral Congress is made available. 

Featured image: @iwfnet on Instagram