The provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) and of the Swiss Olympic Doping Statute form part of the rules of sport, and protect the right of athletes to engage in doping-free sport. The anti-doping provisions apply to all athletes who are license-holders or members of an association or federation affiliated with Swiss Olympic. They also apply to athletes participating in competitions held by such organizations. It is important that athletes at all competition levels know their rights and also their obligations.
The anti-doping regulations are subject to the principle of strict liability. In particular, this means that all athletes bear sole responsibility for any substances found in their doping samples. A violation of the anti-doping regulations is deemed to have occurred when a prohibited substance (or its metabolites or markers) is found in a sample. This is the case regardless of whether or not the substance has been administered or consumed intentionally. According to the rulings of the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), this regulation is known as strict liability.
The principle of strict liability requires athletes to take on a high degree of personal responsibility. It is therefore essential that they check their medication and nutritional supplements carefully prior to consuming or using them.
The WADA Athletes’ Anti-Doping Rights Act establishes the fundamental rights of athletes, as enshrined and rooted in the World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards. It is important for athletes to be aware of and to exercise their rights.
Athletes have the right to:
- Equal opportunities in training and competition, free from individuals who have violated anti-doping rules;
- Fair testing programs which are implemented according to the applicable standards in all countries;
- Be free from any pressure which could harm their health through doping, whether physical or emotional harm;
- Obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption in accordance with the applicable provisions;
- Fairness, in particular access to hearings and impartial and independent decision-making panels and the ability to lodge complaints;
- Report any potential third-party doping deceit in a confidential and anonymous manner and to be protected from intimidation or threats;
- Receive anti-doping training;
- Testing that is carried out in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions, in particular to a confidential and discreet process on the part of anti-doping organizations, and the use of the correct procedures.
In addition to these specific rights, athletes are required to adhere to the anti-doping regulations at all times. In particular, they are required to:
- Educate themselves about the anti-doping regulations currently in force;
- Ensure that they have not consumed or administered any prohibited substances or used any prohibited methods;
- If undergoing medical treatment, to inform their healthcare professionals that they are subject to anti-doping provisions;
- Follow the terms of the Regulatory Statutes for Therapeutic Use Exemptions in the event of prohibited substances or methods being used as part of a medically necessary treatment;
- Comply with their whereabouts obligations, if they are assigned to a whereabouts pool;
- Meet the requirements of the responsible sanctioning authority (in general in Switzerland, the Disciplinary Chamber of Swiss Sport);
- Avoid any collaboration with banned support personnel.
Rights and Obligations During Testing
It is important for athletes to know and to understand their rights and obligations in relation to testing.