26 May 2020

Athletes who lie about Covid-19 symptoms could face ‘tampering’ charge

Athletes who lie to doping control personnel about having symptoms of Covid-19 could face a charge of tampering with the doping control process, which carries a four year ban. Guidance issued by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to anti-doping organisations (ADOs) on 6 May (PDF below) outlines that when conducting a testing mission, sample collection personnel should ask an athlete if they, or anyone that lives with them, are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19. 

If they answer “Yes”, confirmation must be sought in writing via a Covid-19 Questionnaire. The athlete must be warned ‘that if they purposefully provide any information which is inaccurate or incorrect, it could be construed as an anti-doping rule violation (e.g., tampering or attempted tampering) and they may be subject to a sanction of up to four years’.

WADA has also published an updated Question and Answer document for athletes regarding anti-doping during the Covid-19 pandemic. The document advises that athletes who have symptoms of Covid-19 should ‘advise your ADO [Anti-Doping Organisation] of your situation with your whereabouts submission or when sample collection personnel notify you for testing so that they can adjust their plans accordingly’. 

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