There are a number of factors which leading to doping in sports teams and higher-level events. The profile, pressures, prestige and potential financial rewards of professional sport are among them.
The Commission works with Member States to develop initiatives to coordinate national, regional and local actions focusing on the issue of doping in sport.
Doping is not only confined to professionals. Amateurs and recreational athletes are increasingly tempted into making use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Doping has been linked to serious health issues and even premature death amongst individual sports professionals.
It also negatively affects the profitability and sponsorship of sporting events and teams.
Doping in sport seriously undermines the principles of open and fair competition. It damages the public perception of sport and demotivates participants.
Traditionally, anti-doping policies have mainly been concerned with testing and sanctions. However, the realisation is growing in the EU that such rules and programmes need to be backed by wider efforts to prevent a pro-doping culture.
Education and prevention seek to target wider audiences, not just top-level competitive athletes. Moreover, deterrence is not the only means by which doping can or should be avoided.
Research shows the vital role that trainers, coaches, support staff, peers, and parents play with regard to anti-doping. The role of the EU-level policies is crucial in supporting an anti-doping culture in sport.
The campaign against doping is also a priority under the Erasmus + sport programme. Other stakeholders the Commission maintains regular contact with include
- Member States
- Council of Europe
- World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation(UNESCO)
The European Council has also been extensively involved in doping-related discussions at EU level. Already under the Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014, the Council initiated an EU Expert Group on Anti-Doping. This group submitted the first EU revisions to the World Anti-Doping Code.
Since 2009, DG EAC has supported projects in the field of anti-doping. Anti-doping is also included as a high-priority under the Erasmus+ Sport programme.
The future of anti doping
- The Commission and Member States work to ensure that all rules and procedures linked to the new World Anti-Doping Code comply with EU law. The code sits with the EU's vision of an athlete-friendly anti-doping system.
- The Commission continues to support the efforts against doping in sport through the Erasmus+ programme.
- Working in cooperation with the Council of Europe and WADA, the Commission endeavours to further address key issues in anti-doping – including athlete rights, best practice guidance and more.
- The Commission will assess with these partners the Study on the fight against anabolic steroids, human growth hormones and prohibited methods in sport of June 2021 and follow up on it.