What constitutes Anti-Doping rule Violations under the FIFA Anti-Doping regulation 2021?

The definition of anti-doping violations under the FIFA anti-doping regulation 2021 is largely extended. The regulation simply defines doping as the occurrence of one or more of the anti-doping rule violations set forth in the regulation.

Under the regulation, a person without traces of prohibited substance in his/her sample can still be liable for doping.
In other words, a player can be liable for anti-doping violations by omission or commission. E.g. Commission by actually having prohibited substance in his /her sample or omission by refusing to submit to a test. There are more interesting instances where a player need not have traces of prohibited substance in his sample to become liable for anti-doping violations.

There are three important feature of the regulation one must have in mind to better appreciate the subject under review.

  1. Anti-doping rule violations can happen in-competition period and out-of-competition. In-competition period is defined as the period commencing at 23:59 on the day before a Match in which the player is scheduled to participate through to the end of said Match and including the sample collection process relating to the said Match. Out-of-Competition is defined as any period which is not in-competition. Anti-doping violations can happen in the two situations.
  2. One can become liable for anti-doping violations by mere attempt to violate. This is when one purposely engages in a conduct that constitutes a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in the commission of an anti-doping rule violation. However, the regulation provides that there shall be no anti-doping rule violation based solely on an attempt to commit a violation if the person renounces the attempt prior to it being discovered by a third party not involved in the attempt.
  3. Anti-doping rule violation may not necessarily be committed by the player. It can be committed by a Player support personnel. A player support personnel includes any coach, trainer, manager ,agent, team, staff, official, medical or paramedical personnel, parent or any other person working with, treating or assisting a player participating in or preparing for sports competition.

As a general rule, it is the player’s personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his body. Players are responsible for any prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers found to be present in their samples.
Any player who consults a doctor and is prescribed treatment or medication for therapeutic reasons shall enquire whether the prescription contains Prohibited Substances and/or Prohibited methods. If so, the player shall request alternative treatment. If there is no alternative treatment, the player must first obtain a Therapeutic use exemptions (TUE)

What constitutes violation of anti-doping rule violations?
A person shall be liable for violation of anti-doping rule if one or more of the following rules are violated.
a. If there is a presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolite or markers in a player’s sample.
b. When there is use or attempted use by a player of a prohibited substance or prohibited method.
c. Evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection
d. Whereabouts failure: Any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures as defined in the international Standard for result Management, within a 12 month period by a player in a registered testing pool.
e. Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control by a player or other person.
f. Possession of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method by a player or player support person. This possession can be in-competition or out of competition by a player or a player support person.
g. Trafficking or attempted trafficking in any prohibited substance or prohibited method by a player or other person.
h. Administration or attempted administration by a player or other persons to any player in-competition of any prohibited substance or prohibited method, or Administration or attempted administration to any player out-of-competition of any prohibited substance or any prohibited method that is prohibited out-of-competition.
i. Complicity or attempted complicity by a player or other person. This includes assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, conspiring, covering up or any other type of intentional complicity or attempted complicity involving an anti-doping rule violation.
j. Acts by a player or other persons to discourage or retaliate against reporting to authorities.
k. Association by a player or other person subject to the authority of FIFA or other Anti-Doping organization in a professional or sport related capacity with any player support personnel who is serving a period of ineligibility or who has been convicted or found in a criminal, disciplinary or professional proceeding to have engaged in conduct which would have constituted a violation of anti-doping rules.

In conclusion, it is important to point out that the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers, and/or the use or attempted use, possession or administration or attempted administration of a prohibited substance or prohibited method will not be considered an anti-doping rule violation if it is consistent with the provisions of a therapeutic Use Exemptions granted in accordance with the international standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions.

Anthony Atata Hallblack Law Firm Sports Law- Family- Media

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