Anti-doping activities are based on global codes to which athletes and other parties in the field of sports are committed. The national and international codes include, for example, the definitions of anti-doping rule violations and their consequences.
The most important codes applied in Finland are the World Anti-Doping Code and Finland’s Anti-Doping Rules, which is based on the World Anti-Doping Code. The codes are based on UNESCO’s International Convention against Doping in Sport and the Council of Europe’s Anti-Doping Convention, both of which have been ratified by the Finnish Parliament.
Processing of anti-doping rule violations
The Anti-Doping Hearing Panel is responsible for determining whether the action of an athlete or another person falling within the scope of application of the anti-doping code is to be regarded as an anti-doping rule violation as specified in the code and, if necessary, determining the appropriate sanctions.
Sanctions issued on the basis of an anti-doping rule violation vary from reprimands to four years of ineligibility in case of first violations. The scope of ineligibility is very wide, practically global, and it prohibits activities in all sports that are committed to the World Anti-Doping Code.
According to a recommendation issued by the Council of Europe, legal aid is provided to athletes suspected of committing an anti-doping rule violation and their support persons in Finland. The party responsible for the legal aid system is the Finnish Sports Law Association, and the system is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
In addition to the anti-doping codes, the Finnish legislation also regulates doping, but not its use. The Finnish Criminal Code criminalises the illegal manufacturing, import and distribution of doping agents and their possession with the purpose of dissemination.
In some countries, the use of doping is criminalised by the sports fraud legislation, for instance. This has been a topic of discussion in Finland as well, in which the criminalisation of the use of doping would be limited to top-level sports and the athlete’s intentions to gain a financial or similar advantage. The development of the legislation could make doping control more effective by providing the police with the mandate to conduct investigations and perform raids and seizures of goods, for example.