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EU activities to combat doping in sport

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EU activities to combat doping in sport



Communication (COM(99) 643 final) — support plan to combat doping in sport


It sets out the action planned and taken to tackle doping in sport, including the use of European Union (EU) instruments (research, education and training, youth, police and the judicial cooperation, public health) and the coordination of existing legislative measures.


The communication set out a three-layered approach to tackle doping in sport:

  • assemble experts’ opinions on the ethical, legal and scientific dimensions of doping;
  • contribute to preparing the 1999 World Anti-Doping Conference and to creating the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA);
  • mobilise EU instruments with a view to supplementing the actions already underway in EU countries and to give them an EU dimension, taking account of the growing mobility of European sportspersons and the EU’s powers in relation to doping.

European Group on Ethics

The European Commission has committed itself to taking into account, in its future actions and deliberations, elements of the opinion of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE). This group has set out the ethical principles on which the EU measures must be based:

  • the rights of everyone, both sportspersons and others, to safety and health;
  • the principle of integrity and transparency, for the sake of which the consistency of sporting competitions must be ensured and the image of sport in general preserved;
  • the special attention which must be paid to the most vulnerable people and, in particular, children, who can be very involved in high-level sport.

On the basis of these principles, the EGE suggested a number of measures including:

  • establishing an effective health monitoring system for athletes, in particular a specialised medical, psychological and information service;
  • adopting a directive on the protection of young athletes, in particular those who aspire to become professional;
  • encouraging research into the health of athletes;
  • increased police and judicial cooperation;
  • incorporating conditions relating to doping and its prohibition in athletes’ contracts.

Anti-doping agencies

  • Doping prevention and doping sanctions are the responsibility of sport organisations and EU countries.
  • The Commission supports the fight against doping and role of WADA, national anti-doping organisations, accredited laboratories, the Council of Europe and UNESCO.
  • EU Expert Group on anti-doping submitted the first EU revisions to WADA’s World Anti-Doping Code in 2012.
  • Commission has worked with EU countries to ensure that all rules and procedures linked to new 2015 World Anti-Doping Code comply with EU law and the EU’s vision of an athlete-friendly anti-doping system.

EU instruments

Actions using EU instruments come in 2 forms:

  • better coordination of regulatory measures;
  • mobilisation of EU programmes which can support positive anti-doping measures at European level.

These actions focus on the following:

  • intensifying efforts to identify doping substances, detection methods, the health consequences of doping and doping as a socio-economic phenomenon;
  • mobilising education, vocational training and youth programmes in the service of information and training, awareness-raising and prevention programmes;
  • making full use of police and judicial cooperation programmes;
  • reinforcing drugs information;
  • developing public health policy measures.
  • A 2011 Commission communication encouraged EU countries to:
    • adopt and share national anti-doping action plans aimed at ensuring coordination among all relevant parties;
    • continue the existing trend across EU countries to introduce criminal law rules against trade in doping substances by organised networks, or to reinforce existing rules.


For more information, see


Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Community support plan to combat doping in sport (COM(99) 643 final, 1.12.1999)


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Developing the European Dimension in Sport (COM(2011) 12 final, 18.1.2011)

Council Decision 2013/304/EU of 10 June 2013 authorising the European Commission to participate, on behalf of the EU, in the negotiations for an international Convention of the Council of Europe to combat the manipulation of sports results with the exception of matters related to cooperation in criminal matters and police cooperation (OJ L 170, 22.6.2013, pp. 62-65)

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 21 May 2014 on the European Union Work Plan for Sport (2014-2017) (OJ C 183, 14.6.2014, pp. 12–17)

Resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council on the representation of the EU Member States in the Foundation Board of WADA and the coordination of the EU and its Member States’ positions prior to WADA meetings (OJ C 372, 20.12.2011, pp. 7–9)

last update 09.01.2017