Caught in a Bear trap. WADA forced to scrap ADAMS upgrade and take $1.35m hit 

By David Owen

August 31 – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been forced to scrap original plans for a new version of its ADAMS data management system at considerable expense.

The agency said the provider chosen to redevelop the tool “fell short of our objectives and could not produce the desired result”.

The cost of development with this provider was consequently written off, contributing to the near $730,000 deficit disclosed in WADA’s newly-published 2016 financial statements.

“Since then,” WADA explained, “the project has been repositioned, new leadership put in place and a new partner/provider was brought on board”.

ADAMS, which first went online in 2005, is a key data repository for athlete whereabouts information, laboratory results, the athlete biological passport (ABP), therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) and information on anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs). As such, it is an essential tool in the efficient functioning of the ever more complex global anti-doping machinery.

The new version was originally projected for release late last year, in the wake of the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

The new financial statements appear to quantify the write-down at $1.35 million – a considerable sum for an organisation whose annual income is around $30 million.

The new report states that the agency is making “significant upgrades” to ADAMS “to be ready to face the security challenges of tomorrow”.

It continues: “This involves completely rebuilding the platform according to new specifications and using a new IT model. We set the stage in 2016 and we are in a good position to build the next generation of ADAMS in 2017 and beyond.”

Disclosure of the setback comes as the sports movement is preparing for creation and launch of an Independent Testing Authority (ITA), to be capitalised initially by the International Olympic Committee.

The problem over ADAMS does not seem to be related to last year’s widely-reported attack by the Fancy Bears hacking group. According to WADA, the hackers used “a phishing scheme to obtain ADAMS passwords”, but “did not access the broader ADAMS system.”

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