Soek frontcover

The Strict Liability Principle and the Human Rights of Athletes in Doping Cases
Series: ASSER International Sports Law Series

2006 Author: Dr Janwillem Soek, ASSER International Sports Law Centre, T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague, The Netherlands



  • Published: 2006
  • Pages: xx + 455 pp.
  • Publisher: T.M.C. ASSER PRESS
  • Distributor: Springer

This book deals with the legal position of the athlete in doping cases under the law of the regulations of national and international sports federations and how this legal position can be reinforced.

According to the rules of the sports organizations applicable to doping offences, where prohibited substances are found in athlete’s bodily fluids the athlete in question is strictly liable for a doping offence. In the disciplinary procedure there is no discussion about his guilt and the athlete is not given an opportunity to disprove his guilt. One of the starting points of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) is that suspects are not guilty until their guilt has been proven conclusively based on the law, which includes the right of defence.

The author analyzes the nature of doping offences and puts forward arguments in favour of the application of the rights of the defence as laid down in the ECHR in disciplinary doping proceedings. In his argumentation he also addresses the procedural system of sanctions and the practical and economic consequences the sanctions may have for the athlete concerned.

As not only the athlete himself, but also sports clubs and sponsors may suffer serious damage from such sanctions, this book on the strict liability principle will be of great interest to practitioners and academics in more than one field of law. Moreover, it will be a welcome addition to the literature and the continuing debate on doping in sport, which is a matter of great concern to many interested parties.

Janwillem Soek is a senior researcher at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre, The Hague, The Netherlands.

With a Foreword by Hein Verbruggen, UCI Honorary President for life and IOC Member.

This book appears in the ASSER International Sports Law Series, under the editorship of Dr Robert Siekmann and Dr Janwillem Soek.

Available for download

Soek Foreword
Soek ToC
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