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An anti-doping rule violation occurring during or in connection with an event may, upon the decision of the ruling body of the event, lead to disqualification of all of the Athlete's individual results obtained in that event with all consequences, including forfeiture of all medals, points and prizes. [Article 10.1. World Anti-Doping Code]

Anti-doping rule violation

According to the World Anti-Doping Code doping is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the anti-doping rule violations set forth in Article 2.1 through Article 2.8 of the Code. For a violation of each of these rules different sanctions are provided, which are described in detail in Article 10 of the Code. The period of ineligibility for anti-doping rule violations shall be as follows:

  • Except for the specified substances for a violation of Articles 2.1 (Presence of Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers), 2.2 (Use or Attempted Use of Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method) and 2.6 (Possession of Prohibited Substances and Methods)
    First violation: 2 years
    Second violation: Lifetime

  • For the specified substances, if athlete can establish that the use of such specified substance was not intended to enhance sport performance
    First violation: At a minimum, a warning and reprimand and no period of ineligibility from future events, and at a maximum, one year’s ineligibility.
    Second violation: 2 years
    Third violation: Lifetime

  • For violations of Article 2.3 (refusing or failing to submit to Sample collection) or Article 2.5 (Tampering with Doping Control)
    First violation: 2 years
    Second violation: Lifetime

  • For violations of Articles 2.7 (Trafficking) or 2.8 (Administration of Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method), the period of Ineligibility imposed shall be a minimum of 4 years up to lifetime Ineligibility

  • For violations of Article 2.4 (whereabouts filing failures and/or missed tests), the period of Ineligibility shall be at a minimum three months and at a maximum 2 years

Changes within the revised Code

While the current Code allows a 4-year ban for a first serious anti-doping rule violation only in cases of trafficking or administration of a prohibited substance or method, the revised Code, which will come into force on 1 January 2009, thus broadens the spectrum of anti-doping rule violations that can lead to a 4-year ban for a first serious doping offence. At the same time, a greater flexibility would be introduced as relates to sanctions in general. While this flexibility would provide for enhanced sanctions, for example in cases involving aggravating circumstances, lessened sanctions would be possible where the athlete can establish that the substance involved was not intended to enhance performance.

For this purpose, the definition of "specified substances" will change coming into force of the revised Code. The current Code states that
"The Prohibited List may identify specified substances which are particularly susceptible to unintentional anti-doping rule violations because of their general availability in medicinal products or which are less likely to be successfully abused as doping agents."

Where an athlete can establish that the use of such a specified substance was not intended to enhance sport performance, a doping violation may result in a reduced sanction (at a minimum a warning and reprimand and no period of ineligibility, and at a maximum a 1-year ban). The revised Code now provides that all prohibited substances, except substances in the classes of anabolic agents and hormones and those stimulants so identified on the Prohibited List, shall be "specified substances" for the purposes of sanctions. This means that when an athlete can establish how a specified substance entered his/her body or came into his/her possession and that such specified substance was not intended to enhance sport performance, the sanction may be reduced to a reprimand and no period of ineligibility at a minimum, and a 2-year ban at a maximum.

It is important to note that the newly defined specified substances are not necessarily less serious agents for purposes of sports doping than other prohibited substances (for example, a stimulant that is listed as a specified substance could be effective to an athlete in competition). For that reason, an athlete who does not meet the reduction criteria could receive up to a 4-year period of ineligibility in case of aggravating circumstances. However, there is a greater likelihood that specified substances, as opposed to other prohibited substances, could be susceptible to a credible, nondoping explanation.

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