Research Topic

The Challenges Facing the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code: Governance, Rules and Enforcement, Protection of Athletes, Inadvertent Doping

About this Research Topic

The fight against doping is at a crossroads. Multidisciplinary issues at stake in the social, biological and global sciences should enable the system to move forward so that cheaters never win - or at the very least - their victory is increasingly difficult and risky through the threat of control, denunciation or otherwise.

The governance of the fight against doping is complex and multifaceted. States are bound by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping, however, the principal regulator is a private organization, the World Anti-Doping Agency, which administers the World Anti-Doping Code - with some provisions that apply to states that are not signatories to the Code. The first version of the World Anti-Doping Code in 2003 as the “document that harmonizes regulations regarding anti-doping in sport across all sports and all countries of the world”. Since then the Code has undergone four comprehensive revisions, and the 2021 version is effective as of 1 January 2021.

The successive revisions of the code certainly follow the logic of improvement to the protection of the athletes to promote an even playing field. The anti-doping provisions evolve accordingly with technological advancement but also progressive empowerment of the athletes as integral stakeholders in the definition of the rules. They also entrust new missions to the agency, such as that of surveys, which appeared with the 2015 revision.

With a year that has prompted questioning of the business model of (some) global sports, and the need to redefine the accessibility of the sporting spectacle, there is a big challenge for anti-doping to be effective in this new context.

The actors of anti-doping certainly have a unique opportunity to reinforce their role by rethinking and/or redefining their governance, the rules and their enforcement to play an essential role for the athletes, their performance and its dissemination.

Scientific research around new avenues open for anti-doping initiatives in biological and social sciences may foster the future of strong anti-doping organizations.

The aim of this Research Topic is to gather opinions and data from scientific research projects and approaches to discuss the current evolution of anti-doping framed by the 2021 World anti-Doping code and contribute to strengthening the fight against doping.


Keywords: anti-doping, World Anti-doping, doping, governance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The fight against doping is at a crossroads. Multidisciplinary issues at stake in the social, biological and global sciences should enable the system to move forward so that cheaters never win - or at the very least - their victory is increasingly difficult and risky through the threat of control, denunciation or otherwise.

The governance of the fight against doping is complex and multifaceted. States are bound by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping, however, the principal regulator is a private organization, the World Anti-Doping Agency, which administers the World Anti-Doping Code - with some provisions that apply to states that are not signatories to the Code. The first version of the World Anti-Doping Code in 2003 as the “document that harmonizes regulations regarding anti-doping in sport across all sports and all countries of the world”. Since then the Code has undergone four comprehensive revisions, and the 2021 version is effective as of 1 January 2021.

The successive revisions of the code certainly follow the logic of improvement to the protection of the athletes to promote an even playing field. The anti-doping provisions evolve accordingly with technological advancement but also progressive empowerment of the athletes as integral stakeholders in the definition of the rules. They also entrust new missions to the agency, such as that of surveys, which appeared with the 2015 revision.

With a year that has prompted questioning of the business model of (some) global sports, and the need to redefine the accessibility of the sporting spectacle, there is a big challenge for anti-doping to be effective in this new context.

The actors of anti-doping certainly have a unique opportunity to reinforce their role by rethinking and/or redefining their governance, the rules and their enforcement to play an essential role for the athletes, their performance and its dissemination.

Scientific research around new avenues open for anti-doping initiatives in biological and social sciences may foster the future of strong anti-doping organizations.

The aim of this Research Topic is to gather opinions and data from scientific research projects and approaches to discuss the current evolution of anti-doping framed by the 2021 World anti-Doping code and contribute to strengthening the fight against doping.


Keywords: anti-doping, World Anti-doping, doping, governance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

02 November 2020 Abstract
02 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

02 November 2020 Abstract
02 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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