The Athletes' Anti-Doping Rights Act
Approved by the WADA Executive Committee, the Athlete Rights Act protects an athlete’s fundamental right to participate in clean sport, promoting health, fairness and equal opportunity for all athletes worldwide.
The Athletes’ Anti-Doping Rights Act is based on the 2021 Code and Standards and aims to ensure that all athlete anti-doping rights are clearly set out and accessible in one document with universal applicability. The Act includes rights:
- during testing missions
- to a fair, independent, timely hearing
- to medical treatment
- to report concerns without the threat of retribution or retaliation
- to education
- to data protection
- to compensation
- to B Sample analysis.
Rights during testing
First and foremost, you have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and have your privacy protected, throughout the testing process.
During testing you have the right to:
- have a representative with you (parent, coach or friend)
- have an interpreter if required
- ask for additional information about the sample collection process
- request a delay in reporting to the doping control station for valid reasons, such as:
- attending a medal ceremony
- further competition commitments
- fulfilling media commitments
- needing medical treatment
- request modifications if you have a disability or you’re a minor
- record any concerns or comments you have on the doping control form
Your rights in detail
Testing personnel will explicitly inform athletes of their rights and responsibilities, which are consistent with the WADA Athletes Anti-Doping Rights Act.
Athletes should take comfort that all doping control officers, blood collection officers and chaperones must carry Drug Free Sport New Zealand accreditation. If they are testing on behalf of another international anti-doping organisation, they must have a letter of authority from that organisation.
Athletes have a right to privacy. Photographs, video or sound recordings are all prohibited within our doping control stations, other than for identification purposes and only then with the athlete’s permission. This applies to the Drug Free Sport New Zealand team and to the athletes and support personnel.
Knowing what to do when a testing process seems suspicious is tricky, because refusing a test could be treated as a failure to comply. This would put you at risk of anti-doping rule violation proceedings if the anti-doping official thinks that the refusal was not justified.
Our advice to athletes who have concerns about their test is to complete the test, but to make detailed notes if something doesn't feel right. The simplest way of doing this is to write your concerns down on the doping control form – part of the formal sample collection documentation.
However, we hear from athletes that doing this while standing in front of a doping control officer they are about to criticise can be intimidating. We understand that. If you're in this situation, recommend emailing us and/or the national sports organisation as soon as possible after the test, in NZ or overseas, so that there is a contemporaneous written record of concerns.
Finally, if possible, try to get a support person there as a witness (if one is not present already).
If you are selected for drug-testing while competing overseas, we want to help you to know what to expect and how to recognise a situation that is inconsistent with expectations.
Athletes and support personnel can arm themselves with information through our online or in-person education programmes, or reach out to us on social media.
Find out more about clean sport education.
If a positive test is returned, we treat this as confidential until any and all hearings have completed in relation to that result, other than in response to comments made by the athlete in question, or their representatives.
We have read comments in the media that all provisional suspensions should be made public. However, we know that typically most of our doping violations are inadvertent, and if we are to respect athlete rights first and foremost, those athletes must be given the opportunity to tell their story before their reputations are tarnished. An anti-doping rule violation is not established until the conclusion of a hearing process.
Once the process is completed, the Sports Anti-Doping Rules require us to name athletes who are sanctioned. Naming is part of the sanction - and it protects clean athletes from a cloud of suspicion.
We’re at the end of the phone on 0800 DRUGFREE (378 437) if you need advice. Ring us, email us, reach our on social media or write us a letter to get in touch.