Doping Control, Mandatory Arbitration, and Process Dangers For Accused Athletes in International Sports

47 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2009

See all articles by Maureen A. Weston

Maureen A. Weston

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law

Date Written: 2009


Athletes in a professional sports league in the United States are members of players unions, which assist their athletes in obtaining representation when they are involved in dispute resolution proceedings associated with disciplinary actions. However, individual athletes who participate in international competitions do not enjoy the same benefits. When these athletes are required to submit to mandatory drug testing, with attendant potential criminal liability, and to mandatory arbitration, they should be provided meaningful access to competent legal representation when their athletic careers are in jeopardy. This article considers the legal framework, process, and recourse for athletes in international competition to address sporting eligibility and disciplinary actions. Particular attention is paid to the perspective of the accused athlete facing ineligiblity sanction from sporting competition. The article describes the rules and governing bodies in Olympic and international sporting competition pursuant to the Olympic Charter, which provides the regulatory framework for international sports, mandating subjection of the athletes’ eligibility and disciplinary cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, and charging the World Anti-Doping Program (WADP) with administering mandatory drug testing of athletes. The article also examines the interplay between the doping arbitration rules and an athlete’s right to a fair hearing, identifying the signficant procedural barriers in the designated arbitral process. In addition, it considers options for providing athletes with improved access to justice through procedural changes and access to legal advice and representation, including expert scientific evaluation, as well as other forms of legal assistance and insurance programs when contesting liability and jeopardy.

Keywords: sport, athlete, doping, drug testing, international, Olympics, Court of Arbitration for Sport, World Anti-Doping Program, arbitration, dispute resolution, justice, illegal substance, players' union, Landis, USADA, IOC

Suggested Citation

Weston, Maureen A, Doping Control, Mandatory Arbitration, and Process Dangers For Accused Athletes in International Sports (2009). Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal, Vol. 10, 2009, Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009/22, Available at SSRN:

Maureen A Weston (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics