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Spirit of Sport

Anti-doping

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Clubs play a vital role in developing, nurturing and reinforcing a culture of clean sport at every level

You may be familiar with the headlines about elite athletes who have been banned from sport or stripped of their titles after being caught doping. This is not just the use of banned substances or returning a positive test but breaking any of the anti-doping rules that apply in sport. What you may not realise is that doping and abiding by the other anti-doping rules isn’t just an issue among elite athletes - it affects sports at all levels and is on the rise in amateur sport.

All sports clubs who are affiliated to a National Governing Body (NGB), and where that NGB is subject to the National Anti-Doping Policy, are bound by anti-doping rules. This means that as a club, you have a duty to uphold and protect the spirit of sport and support your members in understanding their rights and responsibilities in regards to anti-doping.

Why clean sport matters

Doping can unfairly manipulate competition, results and ultimately undermines the inherent values of sport.

What can doping involve?

You probably understand that doping is when athletes, players or participants take banned substances which might enhance their performance, pose a risk to their health. However, doping is much wider than this and is defined as ‘breaking any one of the 10 anti-doping rules’. These rules include things such as trafficking of banned substances, possession, use or even associating with people who have previously been found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation.

Doping can be deliberate or inadvertent, which means accidental - for example if a player did not realise the medication or supplements they are taking contain banned substances. UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) is responsible for protecting clean sport in the UK and works with National Governing Bodies of sport to educate, deter and detect doping. Deliberate or otherwise, doping is a serious offence and sports people and support personnel such as coaches can be prosecuted and banned from sport if they break the rules.

Not only does doping unfairly manipulate competition results, but it can also represent a huge health risk to those who take banned substances that are potentially harmful or contain unknown ingredients. Promoting clean sport protects your members’ health and your club’s reputation; which will help you attract the right kind of members and deliver a positive club experience. There is no room in sport for doping behaviour at any level.

What does being bound by the anti-doping rules mean?

Put simply, if you are affiliated to an NGB that is subject to the UK’s National Anti-Doping Policy, the following applies to your club:

  • All members and participants should conduct themselves in line with the spirit of sport and anti-doping rules
  • Any member or participant could be prosecuted for any of the ten anti-doping rule violations
  • Any member, participant or coach who could be described as Athlete Support Personnel (ASP) could be prosecuted for six of the ten anti-doping rule violations
  • Any member or participant could be tested at any time, in any place
  • Deliberate doping, even for a first-time offence, can result in a four-year ban from all sport
  • The anti-doping rules have limited sympathy for carelessness - this means that inadvertent doping, even a first-time offence, can result in a two-year ban from sport
  • Everyone involved in sport has a duty to protect it – any suspicions of doping behaviour should be shared with your sport, UKAD or reported anonymously through report doping in sport hotline

How can you educate your club and support your members?

We have teamed up with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) to bring you resources to help you run a safe, clean club and support your members and participants at all levels. The documents below are available for you to download:

In the external links and download sections at the bottom of this page you will find further tools and resources, including links to free online courses, a Clean Sport App and much more.

What should you do if you have concerns?

  • If you are unsure about supplements that you, a friend, fellow club member or relative are currently taking, you can access more guidance on UKAD’s Supplements section.
  • If you are unsure about medication that you, a friend, fellow club member or relative are currently taking, you can check whether it’s banned by using a medication checker, called Global DRO.
  • If you suspect doping is taking place, you can report doping anonymously over the phone or online.
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