Anti-Doping Rule Violations and Sanctions

The World Anti-Doping Code defines doping as the occurrence of one or more of the Anti-Doping Rule Violations outlined in the Code. ‘Doping’ is more than simply using a prohibited substance or method. Currently there are ten (10) Anti-Doping Rule Violations.

Anti-Doping Rule Violations

 Athletes (and other individuals) are responsible for knowing what constitutes an Anti-Doping Rule Violation and the substances and methods which have been included on WADA’s Prohibited List.

The following constitutes an Anti-Doping Rule Violation:

  1. Presence of a prohibited substance (or its metabolites or markers) in an athlete’s sample
  2. Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or method
  3. Evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection
  4. Whereabouts failures (Any combination of three ‘Filing Failures’ and/or ‘Missed Tests’ in a 12-month period)
  5. Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of the doping control process
  6. Possession of prohibited substance or a prohibited method
  7. Trafficking or attempted trafficking of any prohibited substance or prohibited method
  8. Administration or attempted administration to an athlete of prohibited substance or method
  9. Complicity
  10. Prohibited Association

Anti-Doping Sanctions

A sanction is imposed once an Anti-Doping Rule Violation has been determined, either when an athlete admits to a violation and waives the right to a hearing, or it can be imposed by an independent panel, such as the Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, after a disciplinary hearing.

Length of Sanctions

Sanctions for violating anti-doping regulations may range from a public reprimand to a lifetime ban. The period of ineligibility may vary depending on but not limited to the following: 

  1. Anti-Doping Rule Violation
  2. The circumstance of an individual case, that is, the person's degree of fault or negligence, and/or the seriousness of the violation.
  3. The substance and whether or not it is the first time the offence is being committed.

The range of sanctions as stipulated by the World Anti-Doping Code includes:

  • Presence of prohibited substance/method, possession, use or attempted use: a maximum of 4 years ineligibility from sport
  • Whereabouts: 1 to 2 years ineligibility from sport
  • Evading, Refusing or Failing to submit to sample collection: 2 to 4 years ineligibility from sport
  • Tampering or Attempted Tampering with Doping Control: a maximum of 4 years ineligibility from sport
  • Trafficking or Attempted Trafficking/ Administration or Attempted Administration: a minimum of 4 years ineligibility from sport
  • Complicity: 2 to 4 years ineligibility from sport
  • Prohibited Association: 1 to 2 years ineligibility from sport


The most common penalty for an Anti-Doping Rule Violation is a sanction imposing a period of ineligibility to participate in sport.

In addition to a period of ineligibility, there may be other consequences of committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation. Such as:

  • Automatic disqualification of individual results, including forfeiture of medals, points and prizes
  • Disqualification of results in the event during which a violation occurs
  • Disqualification of results in competitions subsequent to the initial test sample
  • Ineligibility to compete in the next Olympic or Paralympic Games