Olympics and International Sports Law Research Guide

This guide is for researching the legal aspects of the Olympic Games. General international sports law resources are also included.


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Much of the controversy surrounding the Olympics and sports in general is related to doping—the use of prohibited substances to enhance performance. This section provides an overview of the legal responses to this issue.



The World Anti-Doping Agency was established pursuant to the 1999 Lausanne Declaration on Doping in Sport and is organized “to promote and coordinate at the international level the fight against doping in sport in all its forms” (Article 4 § 1) of WADA’s Constitutive Instrument of Foundation). WADA cooperates in this endeavor with the IOC, the NOCs, the IFs and national anti-doping organizations.

WADA monitors compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the worldwide standard for anti-doping regulations. More than 600 sports organizations and national anti-doping agencies have adopted the Code. The 2003 Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sport is a non-binding political document through which governments signal their intention to formally recognize and implement the World Anti-Doping Code. Neither the Code nor the Declaration are formal treaties.

The World Anti-Doping Code functions in tandem with eight mandatory International Standards and twelve non-mandatory Guidelines. The Prohibited List (updated at least annually), which explicitly identifies substances banned from use by athletes in sporting events, is one of the Standards. Enforcement under the Code is accomplished through sanctions (see Articles 10–12 of the Code) .



This is a brief list of selected national anti-doping agencies. For additional agencies, see “National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs)” section of WADA’s list of signatories of the World Anti-Doping Code.