Information for athletes

The revised World Anti-Doping Code aims to be tougher on intentional cheats and as an athlete you need to make sure you are familiar with the changes and what you need to do to comply with the new rules.  

If you participate in a sport which has signed up to New Zealand’s Sports Anti-Doping Rules then the changes introduced in the revised code will apply to you.  Most sports in New Zealand abide by these rules.

Highlights you as an athlete should be aware of include:

The introduction of two new anti-doping rule violations:

There are now ten, rather than eight Anti-Doping Rule Violations.  The two new rule violations are

  • Prohibited Association: associating with a person, such as a coach, doctor, physiotherapist etc, who has been found guilty of doping offence
  • Complicity: assisting, encouraging, or helping to cover-up a doping offence.

Longer bans for doping offences

The revised Code is designed to be tougher on real cheats.  For that reason the following changes have been introduced:

  •     those who intentionally dope will face a ban of four years, rather than two years
  •     those who refuse to provide a sample will face a ban of up to four years, rather than two years
  •     a banned athlete may return to training for a short period before a ban is complete
  •     a doping offence can now be investigated and sanctioned up to ten years after it occurred, rather than eight, (an increase in the statue of limitations).

Inadvertant doping

The World Anti-Doping Code upholds the principle of strict liability which means an athlete is responsible for any banned substance found in his or her sample, regardless of whether there was an intention to cheat.  

However, there is greater recognition of the issue of contaminated products, particularly supplements.  If an athlete can show “no significant fault or negligence” to demonstrate that they didn’t intend to cheat, then they may receive a lesser ban.

If  you plan to use supplements you should:

  •     carefully assess whether you actually need to take a supplement
  •     be aware of the risks associated with supplements and the fact that they can contain or be contaminated with prohibited substances
  •     understand the consequences and the fact that you could be banned from all sport for up to four years if you return a positive test.  

Whereabouts requirements

Athletes who are assigned to Drug Free Sport NZ’s Registered Testing Pool (RTP) or National Testing Pool (NTP) still have to file whereabouts information so that they can be located for ‘no advance notice’ testing.

Previously, athletes in the RTP who committed three whereabouts failures (missed tests or filing failures) within an 18-month period could receive a two-year ban from sport.  Under the revised Code, this period has been reduced to 12-months.

Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) requirements

If you need to take a prescribed medication for any reason, international level athletes must apply to their sport’s International Federation for a Therapeutic Use Exemption, while national level athletes must apply to Drug Free Sport NZ.

Click here to find out whether you’re a national or international level athlete and to find out who you should apply to for a TUE.

Athlete Support Personnel

Athletes need to be aware of the new anti-doping rule violation of “prohibited association” which means you could face a sanction if you associate with a person, such as a coach, doctor, or physiotherapist etc, who has been found guilty of a doping or equivalent offence.

If you are found to be associating with someone who has previously been found guilty of a doping offence, Drug Free Sport NZ will write to you to explain that this individual is currently disqualified.   If you refuse to stop associating with this person for sporting purposes, you could be charged with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

Roles and responsibilities of athletes

The revised code also specifically details the roles and responsibilities of athletes with regard to anti-doping in sport.  Under the Code, an athlete must:  

  •     understand and comply with the World Anti-Doping Code
  •     be available for sample collection at all times
  •     take responsibility for everything they ingest and use
  •     inform medical personnel of their obligation not to use prohibited substances or methods
  •     let Drug Free Sport NZ know if they have been found guilty of a doping offence in the past ten years
  •     cooperate with Drug Free Sport NZ investigations into Anti-Doping Rule Violations.

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