What is Doping?

Doping could be described as when athletes use prohibited substances or methods to unfairly improve their sporting performance.

The World Anti-Doping Code more specifically defines doping as ‘the occurrence of one or more of the 10 Anti-Doping Rule Violations’ set out in the Code. This definition incorporates factors other than an athlete taking or using a prohibited substance; it includes offences like refusing to report to doping control, attempting to tamper with doping control, and supplying or trafficking prohibited substances.

Doping poses one of the greatest threats to sport today, and in the future, because it threatens the integrity of sport. Doping is cheating and is fundamentally contrary to the spirit of sport. Doping robs athletes who play by the rules of their right to competition that is safe and fair.

Doping threatens athletes’ health. In some cases, the substances and methods used in doping have not been tested or approved for use by healthy individuals.

There is also the abuse of counterfeit or ‘designer’ drugs that have been developed with absolutely no safety control. All of these factors are serious health risks to athletes who engage in doping.

Doping does not just threaten athletes’ physical health: living with the consequences of doping can destroy lives and crush the faith people have in athletes.

Doping affects not just elite athletes; young athletes are heavily influenced by what their role models do. Only by taking a concerted and comprehensive approach to fight against doping in sport is it possible to protect the integrity of sport worldwide, today and tomorrow.

Doping, as defined by the Code, is the occurrence of one or more of the following anti-doping rule violations (ADRV):

  • Presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample, or simply put, a positive test.
  • Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method
  • Evading, refusing, or failing to submit to sample collection without compelling justification after being notified by an authorized person
  • Violation of applicable requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing, including failure to file required Whereabouts information and Missed Tests
  • Any combination of three Missed Tests and/or Filing Failures, as defined in the International Standard for Testing and Investigations, within a 12-month period by an athlete in a Registered Testing Pool
  • Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control. For example, procuring false testimony from witnesses, or falsifying documents submitted to an anti-doping organization.
  • Possession of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method
  • Trafficking or attempted trafficking of any prohibited substance or prohibited method
  • Administration or attempted administration to any athlete in-competition of any prohibited substance or prohibited method, or administration or attempted administration to any athlete out-of-competition of any prohibited substance or any prohibited method that is prohibited out-of-competition
  • Complicity or attempted complicity: Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, conspiring, covering up, or any other type of intentional complicity involving an anti-doping rule violation, or attempted anti-doping rule violation, or a violation of a period of ineligibility by another person
  • Associating with coaches, trainers, physicians, or other athlete support personnel who are sanctioned, criminally convicted, and/or professionally disciplined in relation to doping. Some examples of assistance include obtaining training, nutrition, or medical advice, and/or allowing the individual to serve as an agent or representative.
    • To establish a violation, the anti-doping organization must establish the athlete knew of the athlete support person’s disqualifying status. The anti-doping organization may, but is not required to, provide notice to the athlete of a support person’s disqualifying status prior to initiating a case.
  • To threaten, intimidate, or discourage a person from the good faith reporting of information relating to an ADRV, non-compliance with the Code, or other doping activity, are all considered violations, as well as retaliation against a person for making such a report


Sanctions on athletes may include, but are not limited to:

  • An ineligibility period that may vary according to circumstances
  • Disqualification of results in a particular competition or event
  • Forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes
  • Team disqualification and forfeiture
  • Fines
  • Loss of benefits, grants, awards
  • Public announcement