PARIS (AFP) Born out of the fallout from the Festina cycling scandal, the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) has in the past decade managed to bring harmony into the fight against drugs cheats. But while the global anti-doping organisation has streamlined rules for athletes regardless of their discipline and nationality it is still struggling to get to grips with the intricacies of the fight against doping. On Tuesday the Agency will mark its tenth anniversary in Stockholm. Back in 1999 drug-taking had become so rife in sport that it became obvious that some sort of coordinated programme was needed. The sight of the entire Festina cycling team being expelled from the Tour de France in July 1998 after the discovery of syringes and drugs in the team masseurs car highlighted that something needed to be done. It became blatently obvious that to fight the drugs cheats, it was necessary to put in place an independent agency, to unite sporting and public bodies. Every international federation and country had their own rules, giving rise to wildly differing handling of individual cases. At the end of the 1990s, sanctions for a positive test for the same anabolic steroid nandrolone resulted in Brazilian water polo players being suspended for four years, a French judoka for 15 months and a American woman tennis player walking away scot-free. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) brought together governments for a major conference on doping in Lausanne in February 1999. The outcome was the founding of WADA on November 10 that year. In the past decade, the Montreal-based Agency, has set about harmonising the rules, procedures and sanctions. With the World Anti-doping Code, which came into effect in 2004, they have fixed the conditions for clean sport. Depiste FIFA (football) and the UCI (cycling) initially dragging their heels before rallying round, the Code has become a key legal instrument recogised by more that 60 international federations and 140 countries. Some measures had been judged too restrictive, such as the controversial whereabouts clause that mandates athletes to provide information on their daily agenda three months in advance. But this is necessary to stamp out doping, insist WADA chiefs. Its the very basis of sport to have rules of play. Its almost like a social contract. If you participate you have to respect the rules, the organisations first president, Dick Pound, said. Pound believes that the involvement of governments is essential for the successful functioning of the agency. Its with the power to investigate and not making an athlete pee into a cup that were going to make giant strides, even if we have to continue to carry out spot tests, said Pound. By carrying out investigations, like in the Puerto affair (in Spain) or Balco (in the United States) we can find the distribution network, the people who produce the drugs and supply them etc... The range of doping products has not changed hugely in ten years with EPO and growth hormone still the principle offenders, but the perfectioning of detection methods has also resulted in the cheaters fine-tuning their methods. Blood doping has increased with transfusions of an athletes own blood remaining undetectable by classic anti-doping methods. Wiping out doping and cheating in sport is almost as futile as declaring the end of crime, said IOC president Jacques Rogge. But this battle merits being fought and its a battle in which it seems to me that were gaining ground. The number of doping controls has steadily increased from 150,000 in 2003 to nearly 275,000 in 2008. However the small percentage of positive results - less than 2 percent - leaves many experts, even within WADA, sceptical on the reality of doping. There are still too many athletes who can cheerfully dope out of season, claims Christiane Ayotte, director of the Montreal anti-doping agency, one of 35 WADA-accredited agencies, who like others questions the rigour of testing. Too often in federations or governments, the people who are in charge of managing controls, have no idea of anti-doping. It is a glaring problem. WADA should tackle it in order to be sure that they collect samples in good time and properly apply the code and sanctions.