2015 World Anti-Doping Code

The new World Anti-Doping Agency Code came into effect on 1 January 2015. From this date all Code signatories, (UK Anti-Doping and the Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Unit), National Governing Bodies (NGB’s), athletes, athlete support personnel, etc. must comply with and embrace their responsibilities under the new rules.

Some changes of significance:

  • There are two new anti-doping rule violations, Complicity and Prohibited Association, bringing the total to 10.
  • The use of serious doping substances and calculated doping methods will be sanctioned with four-year bans.
  • Refusing to provide or evading sample collection will be sanctioned with bans up to four years.All NGB’s are now required to plan, implement, evaluate and monitor information and prevention based education programmes for their athletes and athlete support personnel with a separation of information and education.
  • A risk based approach to testing will be adopted by National Anti-Doping Organisations who must have the resources in place to collect and use anti-doping intelligence to assist in the development of a test distribution plan.

Strict Liability still applies – athletes are solely responsible for any banned substance they use, attempt to use, or that is found in their system, regardless of how it got there and whether or not they had an intention to cheat.

It is crucial that athletes check all medications prior to use, by using the online tools – View our How Do I Check My Medication webpage.

Athletes must undertake thorough internet research of any supplement products before use – including the name of the product and the ingredients/substances listed. Information revealed as a result should be further investigated and athletes are advised to keep evidence of their search.

Sport Northern Ireland strongly recommends sports, athletes, coaches, and athlete support personnel become fully aware of the Code changes which apply to the rules of their sport.    

Useful links:

What is the World Anti-Doping Agency?

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the international independent organisation created in 1999 to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against doping in sport in all its forms.

It is composed and funded equally by the sports movement and governments of the world; and coordinated the development, and subsequent evolution, of the World Anti-Doping Code.

What is the World Anti-Doping Code?

The Code is the document that harmonises regulations regarding anti-doping across all sports and all countries of the world. It provides the framework for anti-doping programmes and activities for sport organisations and public authorities so that all athletes have the benefit of the same anti-doping policies and procedures, no matter the sport, the nationality or the country where tested.

How was the Code developed?

The Code was developed through an extensive consultation process among all stakeholders, including athletes, sports organisations, anti-doping organisations, laboratories, governments and many others. The Code was unanimously adopted by the Second World Conference on Doping in Sport in 2003, came into effect on 1 January 2004, and was fully implemented by Olympic Sport Federations in time for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. The first revisions to the Code, following an 18 month consultation with stakeholders were unanimously adopted by the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport in 2007, to be effective as of 1 January 2009.

What rules or procedures has the Code put in place?

The Code clarifies the responsibilities of stakeholders in the fight against doping and brings harmonisation where rules or policies previously varied between different sports and countries. The Code operates in conjunction with five International Standards:

  1. Prohibited List
  2. Testing and Investigations 
  3. Laboratories
  4. Therapeutic Use Exemptions
  5. Protection of Privacy and Personal Information