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What is doping?

What is DOPING?

There are many definitions for the word «doping» and each has its own concrete meaning. Nevertheless, doping can be defined in general terms in an unambiguous manner:

«doping is a practice that consists in the absorption of specific substances or the practice of specific medical acts in order to artificially enhance one’s physical or mental capacities»

In the case of sports authorities and anti-doping laboratories, doping is defined in detail in Articles 1-4 of the World Anti-Doping Code of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Based on these articles, doping can be summarized as one or more violations of the following anti-doping rules:

  1. Presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers. It is each athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his or her body. Athletes are responsible for any prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers found to be present in their samples.
  2. Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.
  3. Refusing or failing without compelling justification to submit to sample collection after notification as authorized in applicable anti-doping rules, or otherwise evading sample collection.  
  4. Violation of applicable requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing, including failure to file required whereabouts information.
  5. Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of sample collection or sample  analysis procedures.
  6. Possession of prohibited substances and methods.
    This rule applies both to the athlete and to the athlete’s support personnel, both in-competition and out-competition.
  7. Trafficking of any prohibited substance or prohibited method.   
  8. Administration or attempted administration to any athlete of any prohibited method or prohibited substance, or assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up or any other type of complicity involving an anti-doping rule violation or any attempted anti-doping rule violation.

To help understand the key aspects of these rules, WADA has defined the inclusion criteria that apply to the list of prohibited substances and prohibited methods:

  • A substance or method is considered for inclusion on the Prohibited List if WADA determines that the substance or method meets any two of the following three criteria:
    • Medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect or experience that the substance or method, alone or in combination with other substances or methods, has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance;
    • Medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect, or experience that the use of the substance or method represents an actual or potential health risk to the Athlete;
    • WADA's determination that the use of the substance or method violates the spirit of sport celebrating the human spirit, body and mind.

  • A substance or method is also included on the Prohibited List if it has the potential to mask the use of other prohibited substances and prohibited methods.

The decision to include a substance  or method in the Prohibited List is made by a scientific expert committee, called the WADA List Committee which includes Dr Martial Saugy, the Director of LAD.

The Prohibited List is generally updated  by WADA on a yearly basis and becomes effective on January 1 of every year.

Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ may help you get answers to questions you may have about LAD or doping in general.


Last Update on 07.10.2008

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