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WADA: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

What is the World Anti-Doping Code and what is WADA?

The Code is the anti-doping rules and regulations that support clean sport. The Code is accepted by the entire Olympic movement, various sports bodies and National Anti-Doping Organizations throughout the entire world. It also has been recognized by more than 170 governments, through the UNESCO Convention against Doping in Sport. The latest rules came into effect on January 1, 2015.

WADA is the World Anti-Doping Agency that manages and administers the Code. The full text of the Code can be found on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s website.

What is Doping?

Doping is taking or ingesting a substance that changes, alters, enhances or affects one’s physical or athletic performance. This is cheating and is the core concern and purpose of anti-doping rules and protocols.

What substances or methods are banned or not allowed?

WADA keeps a list of substances and methods that are banned. It updates this Prohibited Substances and Methods List periodically, and at least annually. The updated list normally applies from 1 January each year and is available a few months before on the WADA website.

Banned substances at all times would include (but are not limited to): hormones, anabolics, EPO, beta-2 agonists, masking agents and diuretics.

Banned substances only in-competition* would include but not be limited to: stimulants, marijuana, narcotics and glucocorticosteroids.

Banned at all times: methods such as blood transfusion or manipulation, or intravenous injections in some situations.

( Note – * “In competition” means during the competition season of the sport )

What individuals are under the control of the Code?

If you are a national – or international – level athlete, the Code applies to you. “International-level” athletes are defined by the athletes’ International Federation or similar governing organization. “National-level” athletes are defined by the athletes’ National Anti-Doping Organization.

What is the difference between substances prohibited at all times and those prohibited in-competition?

To be banned at all times means to be prohibited all year long, including in training and in-competition as well. Examples: anabolic steroids, which when used in training may have long-term performance- enhancing training effects, or masking agents, which can be used to hide evidence of doping. By contrast, out-of-competition use of a substance that is prohibited only in-competition is not considered an anti-doping rule violation unless evidence of that substance is still in your system at the time of an in-competition test. To be clear, many substances can stay in your system for a long time. If you return a positive result for a substance you took out-of-competition (that was not prohibited at the time you took it) and test positive for it at an in-competition doping control (where it is prohibited), you will be charged with an anti-doping rule violation.

Can prohibited substances be found in common medicines or in Dietary supplements?

Yes. Any number of common medications, including painkillers and treatments for colds and the flu, can contain prohibited substances. So can dietary supplements.
For even more information, see other resources made available by your International Federation or National Anti-Doping Organization.

What if you are taking a Doctor prescribed medication?

There is a procedure that allows an athlete to take a required or prescribed drug from a physician. Details on the protocols are in the WADA Code.

Consequences of Anti-Doping Rule Violation – failing a drug test!

The consequences of an anti-doping rule violation may include the disqualification of results, the imposition of a period of ineligibility, mandatory publication of your violation and, perhaps, financial sanctions.

The Disqualification of results

In an individual sport, an anti-doping rule violation in connection with a competition or event automatically results in disqualification of the results of that competition.

What does disqualification mean?

It means the loss of results, medals, points and prize money. Your results in other competitions in the same event – for example, the Olympic Games – may also be disqualified.


Ineligibility means exactly what it says – you cannot take part in any competition or the activities of an International Federation, its member national federations or their member clubs. This includes training with your club or team or using facilities that are linked with your club or team.
Similarly, you cannot take part in any competitions authorized or organized by any of the other signatories of the Code (such as the International Olympic Committee or your National Olympic Committee or a major event organizer that is a signatory of the Code) or their affiliated entities.

Likewise, you cannot take part in any professional league or any international- or national-level event organization or any elite- or national-level sports activity funded by a governmental organization.

Important links for more information:

See the following:
WADA Main website

Athlete Reference Guide

Important Information –

Important links

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