The National Anti-Doping Programme

The Irish Sports Council's National Anti-Doping Programme acts to protect Ireland's sporting integrity against the threat of doping.

The Anti-Doping Programme has been operational for over 10 years and in that time the requirements of a National Anti-Doping Programme have evolved considerably. On the establishment of the Council the Anti-Doping Programme was developed to fulfil the functions of the Council specifically outlined in section 6(1)(d) "to take what action it considers appropriate, including testing, to combat doping in sport". In the early years of the programme this function was delivered in line with the Government commitment to the Anti-Doping Convention of the Council of Europe. In more recent time additional requirements have emerged through the Government ratification of the UNESCO Convention against Doping in Sport which in effect commits the Government to full compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. The Code was launched in 2003 and was revised in 2008.

With each revision of the Code further demands have been made on the Council to meet the required standards and this has resulted in significant changes to the National Anti-Doping Programme in 2004 and again in 2009.

The Anti-Doping Unit has always recognised that the key to full buy-in for any anti-doping programme is the confidence of stakeholders in what we do. In 2003 the Anti-Doping Unit first achieved ISO certification for the administration of the Anti-Doping Programme, becoming one of approximately 10 countries world-wide who have successfully attained this standard. Under this certification our quality policy is declared as follows:

Quality Policy

Our Policy is to ensure we maintain confidence and satisfaction of our stakeholders by providing an ongoing, effective and quality driven service by complying with organisational, statutory and regulatory requirements.

The anti-doping programme will be carried out to the highest quality standard. Intelligent testing will maximise its effectiveness in detecting and determining doping practices in Irish Sport. Our values-based education programmes will continue to be a long-term solution to prevent doping, creating a strong anti-doping culture throughout the Irish sporting community.

The National Anti-Doping Programme will continue to be at the vanguard of international developments, through the implementation of internationally recognised advancements in testing and analytical procedures and will continue to contribute towards international harmonisation. The Council will continue to make a meaningful contribution to the world-wide fight against doping.


Visions of the Programme

The visions of the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Programme are:

  • Education - To facilitate the development and delivery of quality education programmes for all major stakeholders.

  • Testing - To provide an effective, quality-driven testing programme.

  • Research - To establish a long-term research programme which compliments and progresses anti-doping research nationally and internationally.

  • International - To keep abreast of international best practice and to collaborate with relevant international initiatives.

  • Administration - To develop and maintain quality standards to ensure correct and transparent administrative procedures.


The International Context

The Irish Sports Council recognises that the fight against doping in sport requires an international and multi-agency approach and therefore works in partnership with international bodies in the fight against doping in sport including the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), UNESCO (2006 UNESCO Convention Against Doping in Sport), the Association of National Anti-Doping Organisations (ANADO) and the Council of Europe.


About WADA

Founded in 1999, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the international independent organisation to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against doping in sport in all its forms.  WADA is funded equally by the sports movement and governments of the world. WADA works towards a vision of the world that values and fosters a doping-free culture in sport. Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) - the document harmonising regulations regarding anti-doping in all sports and all countries.  The Code is the core document that provides the framework for harmonized anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities.  The Code came into effect on 01 January 2004, with a revised Code coming into effect on 01 January 2009.  The Code works in conjunction with the following five International Standards:


Irish Anti-Doping Rules

The core of any Anti-Doping Programme is the rules under which it operates.  The World Anti-Doping Code serves as the basis for all Anti-Doping Programmes worldwide.  Under the definitions of the Code the Irish Sports Council acts as the National Anti-Doping Organisation for Ireland and is therefore responsible for implementing the requirements of the WADA Code and International Standards for sport in Ireland.  To this end, the Irish Sports Council produced the 2004 Irish Anti-Doping Rules and later the 2009 Irish Anti-Doping Rules which bring into force the WADA Code and International Standards.

The Irish Anti-Doping Rules, like Competition rules, are sports rules governing the conditions under which sport is played. The Rules apply to participants who are members or licence holders of a National Governing Body or of a member or affiliate in sport, that includes athletes, coaches, doctors and all athlete support personnel. These Irish Anti-Doping Rules are not intended to be subject to, or limited by, the requirements and legal standards applicable to criminal proceedings or employment matters.

The policies and minimum standards set forth in the Code and implemented in these Irish Anti-Doping Rules represent the consensus of a broad spectrum of stakeholders with an interest in fair sport and should be respected by all courts and adjudicating bodies.

The 2009 Irish Anti-Doping Rules have been subject to modification under Article 18 of the 2009 Irish Anti-Doping Rules. The up-to-date Rules are available in the downloads section below.



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