Management of antidoping rule violations

Parties that manage anti-doping rule violations are required to have expertise and discretion. In Finland, the Anti-doping Supervisory Board processes anti-doping rule violations and gives recommendations on the sanctions. The athlete's national sports federation will make the final decision on any sanctions. 

Antidoping rule violations

According to Finland's antidoping code, antidoping rule violations include:

  • presence of prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete's sample
  • use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method
  • evading, refusing or failure to submit to sample collection
  • whereabouts failures
  • tampering with any part of doping control
  • possession of prohibited substance or prohibited method
  • administration of prohibited substances or prohibited methods
  • complicity and
  • prohibited association.

An attempted antidoping rule violation is primarily considered equal to an antidoping rule violation.

Regulations on the use of doping, doping tests or contact and whereabouts information do not apply to coaches or other support persons of an athlete. They are to be investigated for an antidoping rule violation when they are guilty of an act that can, according to the Code, be defined as:

  • tampering with any part of doping control
  • possession of prohibited substance or prohibited method
  • administration of prohibited substance or prohibited method, or
  • promotion of doping.

If a coach or some other support person of an athlete uses prohibited substance or prohibited method, he or she is not allowed to collaborate with the athlete.

Legal counsellor system for those suspected of an anti-doping rule violation

You can get a legal counsellor for an anti-doping rule violation proceeding through the Finnish Sports Law Association's legal counsellor system. The system covers those individuals who have received a notification of or a request for information on a suspected anti-doping rule violation by FINCIS. The anti-doping rule violation process must have begun on or after 1 February 2019. The athlete has to contribute EUR 100 towards the legal counsel.

For further information on the system, please consult the website of the Finnish Sports Law Association.

Sanctions

The possible sanctions for an antidoping rule violation are:

  • invalidation of a competition result
  • rejection of the results of a sports event
  • a period of ineligibility, and
  • a written warning.
A suspension given for the use of a doping agent or method can be anything from four years to a caution, depending on the deliberateness of the athlete's actions or the level of negligence. Administration of prohibited substance and prohibited methods and promoting doping are considered a more severe act than use, and the sanction for them is a period of ineligibility of at least four years.
 

A period of ineligibility refers to a full ban on all activities related to organized sports. The period of ineligibility also applies to the activities of all organizations that have ratified the World Anti-Doping Code and is therefore global.
 

A person for whom a period of ineligibility has been imposed cannot:

  • represent a sports organisation or other organisation committed to the code in a competition, organisation activity or other activity in any discipline committed to the Anti-Doping Code
  • take part in a competition or other sports event arranged by a sport organisation or other organisation committed to the Anti-Doping Code as a competitor
  • act in administrative tasks, as an official, coach, physician or other support person in a sports organisation included in the sphere of this Anti-Doping Code or another entity that has committed itself to the compliance with the code or as the personal coach, physician or other support person of an athlete who has committed to comply with the code.

Decision-making and appeals related to antidoping rule violations

Management of and decision-making authorities related to antidoping rule violations have been divided into two parts. Supervisory Board appointed bythe General Assembly of FINCIS with independent decision-making authority investigates and decides whether an antidoping rule violation has taken place.

If the Supervisory Board decides that the case constitutes an antidoping rule violation, it must issue a justified written statement on the sanction that should be imposed due to it in accordance with the current Antidoping Code. The national federation makes the decision on the sanction to be imposed. For some sports, the rules of the international federation require that the decision regarding an antidoping rule violation be ratified with a decision by the international federation.

If the international federation has found that a Finnish athlete or other person has committed an antidoping rule violation but has transferred the result management of the case to a Finnish sports federation that is committed to this Code, the latter organisation must immediately inform FINCIS of the case and transfer the result management of the case to FINCIS, to be handled in compliance with the general guidelines ratified by FINCIS.

FINADA will process the matter referred to in the notification in compliance with the regulations of this Code where applicable.

As a general rule, appeals concerning decisions based on Finland's Antidoping Code are submitted to the Finnish Sports Arbitration Board. Appeals concerning the decisions of international federations are submitted as required by their codes.

Petteri Lindblom

Petteri Lindblom

Legal Director

phone: +358 400 272 887

e-mail: petteri.lindblom@suek.fi