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The 2021 WADA Code, Recreational Athletes and Ethical Concerns

aKU Leuven, Belgium
bSwansea University, UK

Doping in Sport and Fitness

ISBN: 978-1-80117-158-8, eISBN: 978-1-80117-157-1

Publication date: 12 December 2022


In response to widespread concerns about health and fairness within elite sport, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established as an organization to tackle the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport. Whilst significant efforts have been made to regulate performance enhancement in the context of elite sport, the use of prohibited substances continues to persist. Doping rules are now potentially applicable across sporting levels, not just within elite sport. The WADA has further formalized its jurisdiction in recreational sport by defining the term ‘recreational athlete’ for the purposes of their regulation within and by the 2021 WADA Code. The extension of Anti-Doping Policy into recreational sport broadens the scope of anti-doping's regulatory framework but is consistent in its health protection rationale, and its attempt to preserve sporting integrity. There are, however, a number of ethical concerns associated with the application of Anti-Doping Policy within recreational sport. Anti-doping policy was originally designed exclusively for elite athletes and although amendments have been made within the revised 2021 World Anti-Doping Code, it is unclear whether this extension is justifiable or operationalizable on a global scale. This chapter pays particular attention to the 2021 WADA Code revisions and draws attention to the role of anti-doping policy within recreational sport. Here we raise some ethical concerns associated with the 2021 WADA Code and critically examine the implications for recreational athletes.



Cox, L.T.J., Bloodworth, A. and Mcnamee, M. (2022), "The 2021 WADA Code, Recreational Athletes and Ethical Concerns", Henning, A. and Andreasson, J. (Ed.) Doping in Sport and Fitness (Research in the Sociology of Sport, Vol. 16), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 181-192.



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