Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Not comfortably satisfied? The upcoming Court of Arbitration for Sport case of the thirty-four current and former players of the Essendon football club. By James Kitching

Editor's note: James Kitching is Legal Counsel and Secretary to the AFC judicial bodies at the Asian Football Confederation. James is an Australian and Italian citizen and one of the few Australians working in international sports law. He is admitted as barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia. James graduated from the International Master in the Management, Law, and Humanities of Sport offered by the Centre International d'Etude du Sport in July 2012.


On 12 May 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had filed an appeal against the decision issued by the Australian Football League (AFL) Anti-Doping Tribunal (AADT) that thirty-four current and former players of Essendon Football Club (Essendon) had not committed any anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) identified within the AFL Anti-Doping Code (AADC). The players had each been charged with using Thymosin-Beta 4 (TB4) during the 2012 AFL season.

On 1 June 2015, WADA announced that it had filed an appeal against the decision by the AADT to clear Mr. Stephen Dank (Dank), a sports scientist employed at Essendon during the relevant period, of twenty-one charges of violating the AADC. Dank was, however, found guilty of ten charges and banned for life.

This blog will solely discuss the likelihood of the first AADT decision (the Decision) being overturned by the CAS. It will briefly summarise the facts, discuss the applicable rules and decision of the AADT, review similar cases involving ‘non-analytical positive’ ADRVs relating to the use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method, and examine whether the Code of Sports-related Arbitration (CAS Code) is able to assist WADA in its appeal.

This blog will not examine the soap opera that was the two years leading-up to the Decision. Readers seeking a comprehensive factual background should view the excellent up-to-date timeline published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More...

EU Law is not enough: Why FIFA's TPO ban survived its first challenge before the Brussels Court

Star Lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont is almost a monopolist as far as high profile EU law and football cases are concerned. This year, besides a mediatised challenge against UEFA’s FFP regulations, he is going after FIFA’s TPO ban on behalf of the Spanish and Portuguese leagues in front of the EU Commission, but also before the Brussels First Instance Court defending the infamous Malta-based football investment firm Doyen Sport. FIFA and UEFA’s archenemy, probably electrified by the 20 years of the Bosman ruling, is emphatically trying to reproduce his world-famous legal prowess. Despite a first spark at a success in the FFP case against UEFA with the Court of first instance of Brussels sending a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), this has proven to be a mirage as the CJEU refused, as foretold, to answer the questions of the Brussels Court, while the provisory measures ordered by the judge have been suspended due to UEFA’s appeal. But, there was still hope, the case against FIFA’s TPO ban, also involving UEFA and the Belgium federation, was pending in front of the same Brussels Court of First Instance, which had proven to be very willing to block UEFA’s FFP regulations. Yet, the final ruling is another disappointment for Dupont (and good news for FIFA). The Court refused to give way to Doyen’s demands for provisional measures and a preliminary reference. The likelihood of a timely Bosman bis repetita is fading away. Fortunately, we got hold of the judgment of the Brussels court and it is certainly of interest to all those eagerly awaiting to know whether FIFA’s TPO ban will be deemed compatible or not with EU law. More...

The New FIFA Intermediaries Regulations under EU Law Fire in Germany. By Tine Misic

I'm sure that in 1985, plutonium is available in every corner drugstore, but in 1955, it's a little hard to come by.” (Dr. Emmett L. Brown)[1]

Back to the future?

Availing oneself of EU law in the ambit of sports in 1995 must have felt a bit like digging for plutonium, but following the landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Bosman case[2], 20 years later, with all the buzz surrounding several cases where EU law is being used as an efficient ammunition for shelling various sports governing or organising bodies, one may wonder if in 2015 EU law is to be “found in every drug store” and the recent cases (see inter alia Heinz Müller v 1. FSV Mainz 05, Daniel Striani ao v UEFA, Doyen Sports ao v URBSFA, FIFA, UEFA) [3] cannot but invitingly evoke the spirit of 1995.

One of the aforementioned cases that also stands out pertains to the injunction decision[4] issued on 29 April 2015 by the Regional Court (Landesgericht) in Frankfurt am Main (hereinafter: the Court) in the dispute between the intermediary company Firma Rogon Sportmanagement (hereinafter: the claimant) and the German Football Federation (Deutschen Fußball-Bund, DFB), where the claimant challenged the provisions of the newly adopted DFB Regulations on Intermediaries (hereinafter: DFB Regulations)[5] for being incompatible with Articles 101 and 102 TFEU.[6] The Court, by acknowledging the urgency of the matter stemming from the upcoming transfer window and the potential loss of clients, deemed a couple of shells directed at the DFB Regulations to be well-aimed, and granted an injunction due to breach of Article 101 TFEU. More...

Compatibility of fixed-term contracts in football with Directive 1999/70/EC. Part 2: The Heinz Müller case. By Piotr Drabik

The first part of the present blog article provided a general introduction to the compatibility of fixed-term contracts in football with Directive 1999/70/EC[1] (Directive). However, as the Member States of the European Union enjoy a considerable discretion in the implementation of a directive, grasping the impact of the Directive on the world of football would not be possible without considering the national context. The recent ruling of the Arbeitsgericht Mainz (the lowest German labour court; hereinafter the Court) in proceedings brought by a German footballer Heinz Müller provides an important example in this regard. This second part of the blog on the legality of fixed-term contract in football is devoted to presenting and assessing the Court’s decision.

I. Facts and Procedure
Heinz Müller, the main protagonist of this case, was a goalkeeper playing for 1.FSV Mainz 05 a club partaking to the German Bundesliga. More...

Compatibility of Fixed-Term Contracts in Football with Directive 1999/70/EC. Part.1: The General Framework. By Piotr Drabik

On 25 March 2015, the Labour Court of Mainz issued its decision in proceedings brought by a German footballer, Heinz Müller, against his (now former) club 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Mainz 05). The Court sided with the player and ruled that Müller should have been employed by Mainz 05 for an indefinite period following his 2009 three year contract with the club which was subsequently extended in 2011 to run until mid-2014. The judgment was based on national law implementing Directive 1999/70 on fixed-term work[1] (Directive) with the latter being introduced pursuant to art. 155(2) TFEU (ex art. 139(2) TEC). On the basis of this article, European social partners’ may request a framework agreement which they conclude to be implemented on the European Union (EU, Union) level by a Council decision on a proposal from the Commission. One of the objectives of the framework agreement,[2] and therefore of the Directive, was to establish a system to prevent abuse arising from the use of successive fixed-term employment contracts or relationships[3] which lies at the heart of the discussed problem.[4] More...

UEFA’s FFP out in the open: The Dynamo Moscow Case

Ever since UEFA started imposing disciplinary measures to football clubs for not complying with Financial Fair Play’s break-even requirement in 2014, it remained a mystery how UEFA’s disciplinary bodies were enforcing the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play (“FFP”) regulations, what measures it was imposing, and what the justifications were for the imposition of these measures. For over a year, the general public could only take note of the 23 settlement agreements between Europe’s footballing body and the clubs. The evidential obstacle for a proper analysis was that the actual settlements remained confidential, as was stressed in several of our previous Blogs.[1] The information provided by the press releases lacked the necessary information to answer the abovementioned questions.

On 24 April 2015, the UEFA Club Financial Control Body lifted part of the veil by referring FC Dynamo Moscow to the Adjudicatory Body. Finally, the Adjudicatory Body had the opportunity to decide on a “FFP case. The anxiously-awaited Decision was reached by the Adjudicatory Chamber on 19 June and published not long after. Now that the Decision has been made public, a new stage of the debate regarding UEFA’s FFP policy can start.More...

Policing the (in)dependence of National Federations through the prism of the FIFA Statutes. By Tine Misic

…and everything under the sun is in tune,

but the sun is eclipsed by the moon…[1] 

The issue

Ruffling a few feathers, on 30 May 2015 the FIFA Executive Committee rather unsurprisingly, considering the previous warnings,[2] adopted a decision to suspend with immediate effect the Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI) until such time as PSSI is able to comply with its obligations under Articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes.[3] Stripping PSSI of its membership rights, the decision results in a prohibition of all Indonesian teams (national or club) from having any international sporting contact. In other words, the decision precludes all Indonesian teams from participating in any competition organised by either FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). In addition, the suspension of rights also precludes all PSSI members and officials from benefits of any FIFA or AFC development programme, course or training during the term of suspension. This decision coincides with a very recent award by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in this ambit, which shall be discussed further below.[4]More...

The Brussels Court judgment on Financial Fair Play: a futile attempt to pull off a Bosman. By Ben Van Rompuy

On 29 May 2015, the Brussels Court of First Instance delivered its highly anticipated judgment on the challenge brought by football players’ agent Daniel Striani (and others) against UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP). In media reports,[1] the judgment was generally portrayed as a significant initial victory for the opponents of FFP. The Brussels Court not only made a reference for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) but also imposed an interim order blocking UEFA from implementing the second phase of the FFP that involves reducing the permitted deficit for clubs.

A careful reading of the judgment, however, challenges the widespread expectation that the CJEU will now pronounce itself on the compatibility of the FFP with EU law. More...

A Bridge Too Far? Bridge Transfers at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. By Antoine Duval and Luis Torres.

FIFA’s freshly adopted TPO ban entered into force on 1 May (see our Blog symposium). Though it is difficult to anticipate to what extent FIFA will be able to enforce the ban, it is likely that many of the third-party investors will try to have recourse to alternative solutions to pursue their commercial involvement in the football transfer market. One potential way to circumvent the FIFA ban is to use the proxy of what has been coined “bridge transfers”. A bridge transfer occurs when a club is used as an intermediary bridge in the transfer of a player from one club to another. The fictitious passage through this club is used to circumscribe, for example, the payment of training compensation or to whitewash a third-party ownership by transforming it into a classical employment relationship. This is a legal construction that has gained currency especially in South American football, but not only. On 5 May 2015, in the Racing Club v. FIFA case, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rendered its first award involving directly a bridge transfer. As this practice could become prevalent in the coming years we think that this case deserves a close look. More...

20 Years After Bosman - The New Frontiers of EU Law and Sport - Special Issue of the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law

Editor's note: This is a short introduction written for the special Issue of the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law celebrating the 20 years of the Bosman ruling and dedicated to the new frontiers of EU law and Sport (the articles are available here). For those willing to gain a deeper insight into the content of the Issue we organize (in collaboration with Maastricht University and the Maastricht Journal) a launching event with many of the authors in Brussels tomorrow (More info here).More...

Asser International Sports Law Blog | Blog Symposium: The impact of the revised World Anti-Doping Code on the work of National Anti-Doping Agencies. By Herman Ram

Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Blog Symposium: The impact of the revised World Anti-Doping Code on the work of National Anti-Doping Agencies. By Herman Ram

Introduction: The new WADA Code 2015
Day 2: The “Athlete Patient” and the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code: Competing Under Medical Treatment
Day 3: Proof of intent (or lack thereof) under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code
Day 4: Ensuring proportionate sanctions under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code

Editor's note
Herman Ram is the Chief Executive Officer of the Anti-Doping Authority the Netherlands, which is the National Anti-Doping Organization of the country. He has held this position since 2006. After working twelve years as a librarian, Herman Ram started his career in sport management in 1992, when he became Secretary general of the Royal Netherlands Chess Federation. In 1994, he moved on to the same position at the Netherlands Badminton Federation. He was founder and first secretary of the Foundation for the Promotion of Elite Badminton that was instrumental in the advancement of Dutch badminton. In 2000 he was appointed Secretary general of the Netherlands Ski Federation, where he focused, among other things, on the organization of large snowsports events in the Netherlands. Since his appointment as CEO of the Anti-Doping Authority, he has developed a special interest in legal, ethical and managerial aspects of anti-doping policies, on which he has delivered numerous presentations and lectures. On top of that, he acts as Spokesperson for the Doping Authority. Herman Ram holds two Master’s degrees, in Law and in Sport Management.

The 2015 World Anti-Doping Code is not a new Code, but a revision of the 2009 Code. In total, 2,269 changes have been made (see here for the redlined version). Quite a number of these changes are minor corrections, additions and reformulations with little or no impact on the work of NADOs. But the number of truly influential changes is still impressive, which makes it hard to choose.

Luckily, WADA has identified the – in their view – more significant changes in a separate document and I have used this document to bring some order in a number of comments that I want to make on the impact of those revisions on our daily work.

Part of what follows is based on our experiences with the implementation of the revised Code so far, but quite a bit of what follows cannot be based on any actual experience, because the revised Code has only been in place for seven months, and only a rather small number of disciplinary procedures in relatively simple cases have come to a final decision under the revised rules. As a result, and because I am not in the business of predicting the future, on this occasion I have decided to share some of my expectations with you. Only the future can tell whether I am right on those issues.

Theme 1: sanctions
Probably the most discussed aspect of the revision is the longer period of ineligibility that can be imposed on – as WADA formulates it – ‘real cheats’. In other cases, especially cases of unintentional violations, the revision should lead to more flexibility to impose lower sanctions. Due to the amendments in most cases it will be crucial to establish ‘intent’ – or the lack of it – in order to be able to determine the appropriate sanction. And because of the Strict liability principle that applies to the burden of proof in cases with Adverse Analytical Findings, NADOs have not focused very much on the establishment of ‘intent’, simply because under the previous Codes it was not relevant for the outcome of most cases.

In the case of non-specified substances, it is now up to the athlete to prove that the violation was not intentional, and in the case of specified substances it is up to the (N)ADO to prove intent. This is new, and our current practice shows that this kind of evidence is very hard to deliver for both parties. As a consequence, four year sanctions have been imposed rather matter-of-factly until now in cases where non-specified substances are involved. And such severe sanctions will remain common if non-specified substances are detected, but they will be quite rare in other cases. No doubt, jurisprudence will be developed that will help to assess specific situations, but for most cases the four year sanction will more or less automatically result from the simple fact that a non-specified substance is involved.

Some exploratory analysis of the sanctions imposed under the 2009 Code for specified substances has shown that panels have already established a practice with a lot of flexibility in those kind of cases under the 2003 and 2009 Codes, and I do not expect major changes there.

Quite interesting from our (NADO’s) point of view is Article 10.6.3, which introduces a role for both the (N)ADO with result management responsibility and WADA in cases where athletes or other persons promptly admit an anti-doping rule violation. If both the (N)ADO and WADA agree, a sanction reduction from four years to a minimum of two years is possible. We do not yet know what WADA’s position will be in this kind of cases, but I do know that many NADOs will be inclined to grant a reduction of the period of ineligibility, because we want to stimulate admissions as much as possible. Information given by athletes and other persons is most valuable, and (less important, but still…) we can spare ourselves a lot of costly work in the process.

Somewhat related to prompt admissions (not new, but amended and expanded in the revised Code) is the possibility to reduce sanctions based on substantial assistance (Article 10.6.1). Because of the growing importance of Investigations and Intelligence (see Theme 3 below) and the increased emphasis on Athlete Support Personnel (Theme 4) I think that we will see that this Article will become more important in the work of NADOs. It seems to me that the revisions will help us considerably in all cases where athletes or other persons need reassurance that an agreed-upon reduction of sanctions will be respected ‘no matter what’. At the same time, more information will become available that may help us in uncovering and prosecuting other anti-doping rule violations.

Theme 2: proportionality and human rights
I can be quite short here: I have not identified a single consequence of this Theme for the NADO that I work for, and I can hardly imagine that other developed NADOs will see this differently. This is not because this Theme is not important (quite the contrary) but because NADOs do not need extra encouragement in order to ensure that proportionality and human rights are taken into consideration on an everyday basis. And because – at least in Europe – data protection issues and the related issues of public disclosure and the protection of minors are primarily governed by legislation, not by the Code.

Theme 3: Investigations and intelligence
Indeed, the development of ‘Intelligence & Investigations’ is one of the major issues that quite a few NADOs are dealing with now. In less than two years’ time, more than a dozen NADOs have attracted new staff for this purpose, and cooperation between NADOs (and some IFs) in this field is gradually developing, at a pace that is primarily determined by taking care of the legal side of things. The Code revision has not initiated this development, but it certainly confirms and strengthens it. And we are well aware that Intelligence has played a major role in practically all cases (old and recent) where large-scale, organized, doping practices have been uncovered. Which does not mean that we are all prepared for this kind of thing…

First of all, it is necessary to develop and sign bilateral cooperation agreements in which the preconditions for sharing information between (N)ADOs are defined. I have signed several, and there are more to come. But it is also necessary to start and develop a cooperation with customs and law enforcement agencies, and this kind of cooperation needs even more legal preparation in order to be successful (or just possible). Indeed, information sharing with government agencies is just as logical as it is complicated in practice.

I do not know one NADO that does not feel the need for cooperation with law enforcement agencies. And that fact, supported by the revised Code, means that NADOs are slowly but surely getting better acquainted with government agencies. It is my opinion that several legislation proposals in various countries in Europe illustrate this development nicely. Countries which have done without specific anti-doping legislations for years – including my own country – are now working on legal measures that aim to facilitate a close(r) cooperation between governments and (N)ADOs (in line with the expansion of Article 22.2 in the 2015 Code).

The investigative powers of Intelligence Officers of NADOs on the one hand, and law enforcement agents on the other hand, are wide apart. In most countries, an Intelligence Officer has no other rights than any citizen, while there are elaborate laws that define and regulate what law enforcement officers may and may not do. The gap between the two has to be narrowed, in order to facilitate and stimulate further cooperation. Which means that Intelligence Officers will need to have specific authorizations that enable them to do their job within sport, but without becoming law enforcement officers themselves. The solutions will be different per country, but the common factor will be that NADOs will have more tools to fulfil their tasks.

Apart from these legislative and regulatory developments, which open doors that have been firmly closed until now in many countries, there are not many ’quick wins’ to be expected because of ‘Intelligence & Investigations’. In the long run, however, ‘Intelligence & Investigations’ will probably have a significant impact on the effectiveness of doping control programs, which will not really become ‘smarter’ (more brain power has been invested in the testing programs under the 2003 and 2009 Codes than most people can imagine), but certainly more ‘targeted’ and tailor-made. This may be an equally important effect of ‘Intelligence & Investigations’ as collecting evidence.

The extension of the statute of limitations (Article 17) to ten years will not make a big difference in numbers, but the cases where this extension pays off, will for a large part be the kind of cases that we find especially important to bring to justice. There is a downside to this as well, of course, and one of the aspects that I have not seen mentioned often is the fact that relevant samples will have to be stored for another two years, which will lead to additional costs. Few people realize how expensive the storing of samples – under the right conditions – is.

Theme 4: Athlete Support Personnel (ASP)
This Theme is closely connected to Theme 3, because anti-doping rule violations by Athlete Support Personnel cannot be proven by the traditional means of proof of ADOs, i.e. the analysis of urine and blood samples. There can be no doubt that catching those coaches and doctors that supply and administer doping to the athletes must be a high priority for NADOs. We are well aware that athletes do not function in a vacuum. As a consequence, NADOs will dedicate a considerable part of their ‘Intelligence & Investigations’ capacity to ASP. A rise in the number of cases where ASP is involved can be predicted, although – unfortunately – a huge effect is unlikely. Not only because these cases will always be hard to prove (no matter what) but also because large groups of ASP are not (properly) bound by anti-doping regulations. The seriousness of this problem varies per country and per sport (discipline), and the problem may – at least partly – be solved through legislation. But in my own country, I do not see how the Code revision will help the NADO in prosecuting ASP, unless and until we manage to find ways to sufficiently bind all relevant ASP to our rules.

The new anti-doping rule violation ‘Prohibited Association’ brings us some serious new challenges, I think. One of them being the burden of proof, which often will not be easy to discharge. Here again, ‘Intelligence & Investigations’ will play a crucial role. But even if it can be proven that an athlete is working with an ineligible coach, trainer or doctor, there may be several legal challenges if the ineligible person has a private practice outside organized sport, and working with athletes is the livelihood of that person.

Theme 5: Smart testing and analyzing
As I mentioned above (see Theme 3) ‘Intelligence & Investigations’ will probably have a significant positive impact on the effectiveness of doping control programs. However, it remains to be seen whether this effectiveness will show in terms of the detection of more anti-doping rule violations, or in a better deterrence. Whichever it will be, a consequence of the development towards more targeted and tailor-made testing and analyzing, is that the price of testing will go up. Tailor-made testing means more individual testing, on odd hours, in (sometimes) strange places. This is – no surprise – considerably more expensive than testing a number of players at random after a training session of a team.

On top of that, the Technical Document for Sport Specific Analysis (TDSSA, that has been developed after the implementation of the revised Code (based on Article 6.4 of that Code), prescribes a minimum percentage of additional analyses per sport discipline, with even more cost increase as a consequence. Some NADOs have managed to get additional funding in relation to these new requirements, but most of us have not (and not many of us foresee a budget increase in the near future). So the global number of tests performed by NADOs will in all likelihood decrease.

Whether this decrease in numbers will be acceptable, depends on the value added by the additional analyses that are now performed. If less tests bring more proof, then it is a good development. However, for the time being, there is no way to tell. And it is predictable that decreasing numbers of tests (the number of tests performed being the most commonly used measuring stick to assess the performance of a NADO) will generate critical questions about how serious we take the fight against doping in sport.

While I am writing this contribution, we are in the middle of the ‘IAAF controversy’, following the leakage of confidential information to the media, and the subsequent publication of sensitive data. I am not in the position to comment on what exactly is right and wrong in this case (I simply do not know) but I do know that the IAAF anti-doping program is ‘smarter’ than most, and that it can show results that few IFs can. Nonetheless, the public discussion is focusing on what has not been accomplished with all these data. So the large amounts of data that become available through ‘smart’ testing and elaborate biological passport programs, may become a burden instead of a blessing if the burden of proof is not reached in too many cases. Which – I fear – may be the case.

Theme 6: International Federations and NADOs
Another development that is not initiated by the Code revision – but certainly is supported and accelerated by it – is the improvement of NADO-IF cooperation. The revised Code clarifies and solves several of the problems that we have experienced with the 2009 Code. Examples are the control of therapeutic use exemptions (Article 4.4), the testing authority during international events (Articles 5.3, 5.2.6 and 7.1.1), and the coordination of whereabouts failures (Article 7.1.2). All these changes are improvements.

However, cooperation is more in the soul than it is in the rules, and we must acknowledge and accept that there are relevant differences between NADOs on the one hand and IFs on the other hand, in terms of culture, position and tradition. WADA has created Ad Hoc Working Groups of NADOs and IFs separately, and these groups have made inventories of existing problems that are subsequently brought to the table in joint meetings. The Articles in the Revised Code that underline the need for better cooperation will have no meaning if we stay separated in two worlds. But the impact will be huge, if and when we benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience. And although I am not an optimist by nature, I am pretty sure that this will work out fine.

Theme 7: A clearer and shorter Code
I think it is obvious that this Theme is quite ambitious, and I can only regretfully conclude that the revised Code is neither clearer, nor shorter than the 2009 version. The Code is the most important legal tool in the anti-doping world, and both lawyers and administrators may (and do) delight in the fact that the Code has proven to be an indispensable tool in our toolkit. It is, however, not a tool for athletes (except for those who are also lawyer or administrator) and it will never be. Clarity about the rules is delivered by the Education departments of NADOs, in the form of numerous publications, leaflets, manuals and (more and more) digital tools. And it is my personal opinion that there is not much wrong with accepting that the Code is not meant to educate athletes, but to protect them.

It is difficult to choose what other aspects of the revised Code are worth mentioning here. Let me name only a few.
The new possibility for an athlete to return to training during the last part of the period of ineligibility imposed on him (Art. 10.12.2), is – in my opinion – a balanced compromise between the need to fully execute sanctions, and the interests of team members that have not been sanctioned themselves. However, this refinement of the sanction regime further complicates the task that has been a burden for many NADOs for years already: how to monitor that sanctions are observed correctly and fully. This monitoring task usually cannot be fulfilled without the help of sport federations and clubs, and – to a certain extent – fellow athletes. Publicly known elite athletes will hardly have an opportunity to violate their sanction without being ‘caught’, but for lesser gods the situation is different, which fact collides with the Level playing field that we want to achieve.

Article 6.5 of the revised Code addresses the storing of samples for further analysis. It is good that these rules are now clarified, because it is to be expected that the percentage of samples that are stored for future analysis will rise over the years. The revised rules are meant to do justice to both the athlete and the (N)ADO and I think they actually do that, although I am sure that both NADOs and athletes will disagree in any particular case they are involved in.

The importance of the explicit wording of the Articles 20.4.3 and 22.6 that address the need for NADOs to be free from interference in our operational decisions, cannot be overestimated. Anti-doping issues can get a lot of attention in the media, and that may or may not lead to unleashing certain political powers. In my country, parliamentary questions have been asked about specific doping cases on several occasions. Thankfully, in no case this has led to actual interference in our work, but it is very good that the Revised Code is there to ward off such interference in countries where this may be necessary.

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