Doping is fundamentally contrary to the spirit of sport. The spirit of sport is defined as the celebration of the human spirit, body and mind and is the ethical pursuit of human excellence through the dedicated perfection of each Athlete’s natural talents. The spirit of sport is also characterised, amongst other values, by health, ethics, fair play, honesty, team work, fun and joy, dedication and commitment, respect for rules and laws, respect for self and other participants, courage, community and solidarity. 

Anti-doping programmes are founded upon the spirit of sport and seek to protect the health of Athletes and to provide the opportunity for Athletes to pursue human excellence without the Use of Prohibited Substances or Prohibited Methods. Anti-doping programmes seek to maintain the integrity of sport in terms of respect for rules, other competitors, fair competition, a level playing field, and the value of clean sport to the world. 

All Rowing Ireland members are subject to the Anti-Doping Rules and everyone has a responsibility to ensure that they are aware of them. We advise all members to read and understand the Anti-Doping Rules and to understand their responsibilities. The consequences of not adhering to Anti-Doping Rules can be severe, therefore, it is critical that any questions or concerns be clarified with either Rowing Ireland or Sport Ireland. These rules can be found below. 

The most important thing for athletes to remember is that in the world of Anti-doping, strict liability is followed. This means, your body is your responsibility and all athletes must be aware of what they put in their bodies. There are 11 Anti-doping rule violations. These violations are: 

  • Presence of prohibited substance in athletes sample 
  • Use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or method by an athlete
  • Refusing or failing to do a drug test after notification 
  • Committing THREE Whereabouts failures (Filing failure or missed tests) in 12 months 
  • Tampering 
  • Possession of Prohibited substances and/or methods 
  • Trafficking any Prohibited Substance or Prohibited method 
  • Administration to an Athlete of any Prohibited Method or Prohibited Substance; assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up
  • Complicity or Attempted Complicity  – Involvement in an ADRV committed by another person, such as helping to cover up that ADRV or avoid detection, will be sanctioned in the same way as that violation.
  • Prohibited Association – Associating with a person such as a coach, doctor or physio who has been found guilty of an ADRV or equivalent offence to a doping violation will be sanctioned with a ban of up to 2 years.
  • Protection of Whistle-blowers – it is an ADRV to threaten another person or to discourage that person from reporting to authorities of information relating to an ADRV, non-compliance with the Code or other doping activity, or to retaliate against another person for doing so.

The minimum sanction for intentional cheating is 4 years for the first offence. To get any reduction in the sanction, athletes must have substantial proof that they were not at fault or intending to cheat. If an athlete/coach is sanctioned they will not be allowed to train with a club, participate, coach or administer the sport, or any other sport that is signed up to the WADA Code, while under sanction. 

The guidelines for supplement taking in Sport can be found here. It is important that all athletes are aware of the potential risks involved in taking supplements. It is recommended that all athletes assess the need, risk and consequences of taking supplements while competing. It is also essential that all athletes research all medications they are taking before doing so as certain doses of these medications could be prohibited in or out of competition. These medications can be researched on while in the ROI or in NI or elsewhere. For athletes where use of these medications are essential can apply for therapeutic use exemptions. The information about the exemptions and where to apply can be found HERE

Athletes are also subject to potential testing. It is important for all athletes to know their rights and responsibilities involved in drug testing and the procedure involved in a drug test. Sport Ireland provides excellent resources and videos to explain the rights and responsibilities of all athletes and a step by step guide of how the testing takes place. This information can be found HERE and we recommend all clubs to run through this with their athletes so they are prepared in the event they are chosen for testing. 

For more information or any questions about anti-doping, please contact Lucy Hanrahan at