Tyr Sports

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to anti-doping regulations, it is always best to proceed on the side of extreme caution. If you are not certain whether the rules apply to you, you should independently seek out advice and confirmation from experts on your team, in your league, or from your relevant sporting association. You should also contact the national anti-doping agency in your jurisdiction.

Most high-level competitive athletes will be subject to anti-doping regulations. The WADA Code and the WADA Prohibited List are typically adopted by national anti-doping organizations, international federations, and major event organizing committees in their own anti-doping rules. Examples include the Canadian Anti-Doping Program, the FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations, and the IOC Anti-Doping Rules applicable to each edition of the Olympic Games.

Athletes subjected to anti-doping rules should avoid taking any supplement or medication until they are certain, through independent verification, that the product or medication they are taking does not contain any ingredients that are found on WADA's Prohibited List.

An athlete should always check with their team or league officials, trainers, or team doctor before taking any substances. Similarly, as part of their due diligence, it is advisable to speak with a knowledgeable anti-doping lawyer to independently verify their findings.

The WADA Code and national anti-doping organizations allow for athletes to use medications prescribed by medical professionals for therapeutic purposes even if they are on the Prohibited List. However, strict rules must be followed by athletes before they start taking the medication in question.

Athletes in this situation must apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (known as a “TUE”) from the applicable anti-doping agency. The specific rules governing TUE's are laid out in WADA's International Standards on Therapeutic Use Exemptions and mandate that:

  1. The substance is needed to treat a medical condition,
  2. The use of the substance is not likely to produce additional performance enhancements beyond what should be expected when the athlete returns to a normal state of health,
  3. The substance is an indicated treatment for the specific medical condition of the athlete, and
  4. The necessity for the TUE is not a result of the athlete's prior use of the prohibited substance without a TUE.

Athletes seeking to apply for a TUE will need certain information to be provided by their medical practitioner. Once provided with a TUE, the athlete can compete while using their prescribed medication for a therapeutic purpose, subject to the conditions of the TUE.

The TUE application process can be complicated and time-consuming. At Tyr, the team of anti-doping lawyers has extensive experience with TUE applications for athletes from a variety of different sports.

It is always strongly recommended that an athlete apply for a TUE before consuming any medication on the Prohibited List. An athlete can apply for a retroactive TUE after a positive doping test, but retroactive TUEs are only granted in rare and exceptional circumstances. There are six grounds on which an athlete can get a retroactive TUE:

  1. Emergency or urgent treatment of a medical condition was necessary,
  2. There was insufficient time, opportunity or exceptional circumstances that prevented the athlete from applying for a prospective TUE,
  3. Due to national prioritization in certain sports, the national anti-doping organization did not permit or require the athlete to submit a prospective TUE application,
  4. The athlete is using a medication for therapeutic reasons and is not a national level, or international level athlete,
  5. The athlete used a prohibited substance out-of-competition, for therapeutic reasons, that was only prohibited in-competition, or
  6. It would be manifestly unfair in the circumstances not to grant a retroactive TUE.

Tyr's team of anti-doping lawyers has helped many athletes apply for and successfully obtain retroactive TUE applications.

It is possible for an athlete to test positive due to the consumption of food or nutritional products that have been contaminated by a prohibited substance. Under WADA's strict liability regime, even if an athlete is affected by contamination, they will be charged with an anti-doping rule violation and need to demonstrate an absence of fault or recklessness in order to eliminate or reduce the length of the suspension that will apply.

Anti-doping technology and testing methods have evolved significantly over the past few decades. Increasingly, anti-doping laboratories are able to detect smaller and smaller trace amounts of substances in athletes' samples. While this is good news for the protection of the integrity of competition, it also means that athletes will be more likely to test positive as a result of contamination.

The most common types of contamination include contaminated supplements which are manufactured in the same production facility as banned substances, and contaminated meat from countries where specific hormones are used to raise livestock. In rare cases, contamination can even arise from physical contact with an item (such as a towel) or person on which a prohibited substance was found. In all cases, it is critical that the athlete identify the source of the prohibited substance found in their body in order to have a chance to reduce the applicable suspension.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that athletes maintain a strict regime of record-keeping in respect of the nutritional products, medications, and even sources of red meat they consume. While this may be an onerous task, careful and accurate records could assist an athlete to demonstrate that they were not at significant fault and benefit from a reduced suspension later on.

You should immediately contact your sport federation to obtain a copy of the team selection criteria and be informed of the applicable deadline to file an appeal. We also recommend that you reach out to a sports lawyer for advice.

Depending on the competition in which an athlete is competing, there may be a mechanism on site to swiftly assist with legal disputes as they arise. The Court of Arbitration for Sport employs an Ad-Hoc Division at major international sport events to deal with disputes arising during or just before these events. Typically, the division consists of arbitrators appearing on a special list for the purposes of the competition.

Given the time sensitive nature of international competitions, these tribunals are equipped to deal with matters expeditiously, and can often return decisions in as little as 24-48 hours after filing. Ad-Hoc Division cases involve no cost to the athlete.

Some of the competitions where the CAS Ad Hoc Division is available include but are not limited to:

  • Summer and Winter Olympic Games
  • FIFA World Cup
  • Rugby World Cup
  • FIBA Women's World Cup
  • The Asian Games
  • The World Beach Games
  • The Commonwealth Games

Tyr Sport's litigators have been involved in numerous cases before the CAS Ad-Hoc Division, including representing Jamaican bobsledder, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.