Elite athletes' duty to provide information on their whereabouts: Justifiable anti-doping work or an indefensible surveillance regime?

  • Hanstad D
  • Loland S
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In this article, we explain and reflect critically upon the athlete whereabouts reporting system in top-level sports initiated by theWorld Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This system makes it compulsory for athletes who are in a registered testing pool in their national and/or international federation to submit information about their whereabouts. In this way, athletes are required to be available for a no advance notice doping test throughout the year. If an athlete provides incorrect information or cannot be found when a no advance notice test is supposed to be taken (a missed test), he or she may be given a warning. In most sports and national anti-doping regulations, three such warnings within 18 months may be regarded as a violation of the doping regulations and may lead to exclusion from sport for between 3 months and 2 years. The system is controversial. In this article, we examine the key objections to the system and, more specifically, objections connected to ideas of justice and athletes’ autonomy and right to self-determination. The argument will be a practical ethical one informed by a survey on attitudes towards the whereabouts system carried out among 236 athletes belonging to the registered testing pool in Norway. We conclude that if the basic principles of anti-doping work are accepted,WADA’s whereabouts reporting system represents nothing other than an efficient extension of this work.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anti-doping
  • Elite athletes
  • Surveillance
  • Whereabouts reporting system

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  • Dag Vidar Hanstad

  • Sigmund Loland

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