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First example date for BIU
August 1, 2021
In yesteryear, and still to an extent today, the fight against doping has been seen, somewhat simplistically, as athletes facing a urine or blood test during competition to ascertain the potential presence of a prohibited substance. Yet, as with so much in the world in which we live, things are not quite that simple. And that’s why, as the anti-doping movement has grown, so too has the number of tools in our toolbox to detect, deter and even prevent doping.
Out-of-competition testing, intelligence and investigations, whistleblowing, the Athlete Biological Passport are all examples of new features in anti-doping’s toolbox, yet there is one significant trend that we in anti-doping and sports integrity have become increasingly aware of, and that’s the fact that often behind a doped athlete is a support member, someone in a position of power – be it a coach, doctor, physician or agent – coercing an athlete into doping.
And it’s with this emerging trend, and increasing evidence that athletes rarely dope alone, that the WADA Prohibited Association rule was implemented into the World Anti-Doping Code back in 2015. In simple terms, the Prohibited Association rule makes it an offence for an athlete to associate with a person ‘in a professional or sport-related capacity’ if you know they are serving a doping ban. In terms of what ‘associating’ with them could look like, well it could, amongst other things, mean receiving coaching or training, obtaining medical or nutritional or any other type of advice. By associating with a banned individual, you could run the risk of a two-year ban, or even more if ‘aggravating circumstances’ are at play (for example, a second or third offence).