WORLD ANTI DOPING AGENCY CODE 2015 – Some important changes…

The new World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) World Anti-Doping Code came into effect on 1 January 2015. The main intentions behind the changes in the 2015 Code were to make it harder for athletes who were cheating by means of doping whilst making it easier for athletes who follow the rules and compete clean. Here is a short overview of some of the main changes that the 2015 Code has brought into effect.

  1. Whereabouts rule – Under the new 2015 Code any combination of three whereabouts failures, including filing failures or missed tests within a 12 month period may result in an anti-doping rule violation. Under the previous Code anti-doping rule violation resulted from three failures occurring within an 18 month period rather than a 12 month period. 
  1. Increased sanction length – The New Code has raised the period of ineligibility to a potential four year ban from competition for a first time anti-doping rule violation by an athlete. This potential ban of four years shall also apply where an athlete refuses to provide or evades sample collection, or tampers with the sample collection process. 
  1. Increased flexibility in determining the length of sanctions for unintentional dopers – Athletes who unintentionally take a banned substance have an opportunity to receive a reduced sanction under the 2015 Code. Provided that the athlete who has tested positive for a banned substance can establish that the source of the banned substance was from a contaminated product, and that the athlete was not significantly at fault or negligent in their absorbing the banned substance through the contaminated product, then the range of the sanction shall be 0 – 2 years depending on the degree of fault of the athlete. 
  1. Prohibited Association – The 2015 Code prohibits athletes from associating with coaches, trainers, physicians, or other athlete support personnel who are sanctioned and/or criminally convicted of a doping offence. Under this rule it is necessary that an athlete who has associated with a prohibited individual is notified by an anti-doping agency with jurisdiction over the Athlete, or by WADA of that prohibited individual’s disqualifying status and the potential consequence of the prohibited association. An athlete who breaches this rule may face a sanction of a 2 year ban from sporting activity. 
  1. Athletes Returning from Retirement – Athletes who have retired but wish to return to competition must now be included in a registered testing pool for a period of 6 months before they can return to competition. The reason for this 6 month period is to ensure that returning athletes have had to comply with the same anti-doping standards as current athletes prior to competition. 
  1. Statute of Limitations – The Statute of Limitations for bringing a case against an individual for an anti-doping rule violation has now been increased from 8 years to 10 years.

The Irish Sports Council introduced new Anti-Doping Rules in line with the WADA 2015 Code on 1 January 2015, a copy of which can be found at:

For more information contact Morgan Crowe.


This publication is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. No liability is accepted by Ogier Leman for any action taken or not taken in reliance on the information set out in this publication. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. Any and all information is subject to change.

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