Sanctioning Framework of the World Anti-Doping Code 2021: A Proportionate Response to Doping?
26 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2020
Date Written: November 5, 2020
In this working paper, I examine the compliance of selected sanctioning provisions of the new World Anti-Doping Code, which enters into force on 1 January 2021 (“Code 2021”), with the internationally recognized general legal principle of proportionate punishment. I also compare how Code 2021 evolved in terms of proportionate punishments compared to the World Anti-Doping Code currently in force (“Code 2015”). I argue that the new approach towards sanctioning of the ingestion, use or possession of substances of abuse as well as of anti-doping rule violations committed by protected persons and recreational athletes empowers hearing panels to issue a proportionate punishment better than Code 2015. On the other hand, I believe that the strict interpretation of the modified definition of intentional presence, use or possession of a prohibited substance or method would lead to disproportionate consequences for those athletes who knowingly use prohibited substances in competition, but without the intention to cheat. I also believe that hearing panels should apply the reintroduced concept of aggravating circumstances only to the most serious cases of doping in order to avoid disproportionate punishments. To conclude, I consider Code 2021 a step forward for the worldwide fight against doping in sport. On the other hand, I believe that hearing panels will bear a heavy burden to apply Code 2021 so that they always ensure one its goals, to respect the rule law and the principle of proportionality.
Keywords: World Anti-Doping Code 2021, World Anti-Doping Code 2015, doping, proportionality, sanctions, intent, substances of abuse, aggravating circumstances, protected person, recreational athlete
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