16th July 2021

NADA statement on the ARD documentary ‘Guilty’

The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) comments on the ARD documentary ‘Guilty – How athletes can become dopers unintentionally’ as follows:

1. Acts of sabotage and targeted manipulation are criminal attacks. These facts are not only to be prosecuted under sports law, but also under criminal law. In order to clear up such cases, which are tragic for the athletes concerned, quickly and comprehensively, NADA therefore works primarily with State investigative bodies.

2. In sports law, the following also applies: A positive analysis result does not automatically lead to a ban! The principle of ‘strict liability’ does not release anti-doping organizations from providing full evidence of the doping violation.

3. Anti-doping organizations are obliged to fully prove a violation. There are rules of evidence within the anti-doping rules on the burden of proof and standard of proof. The evidential burden for athletes is lower than that for anti-doping organizations.

4. NADA already considers every doping case as an individual case. Each case is checked and assessed individually. NADA includes all incriminating and exonerating evidence, such as medical or analytical reasons, in the context of the investigation of a violation of anti-doping regulations.

5. The doping control system must be further developed, especially through targeted research. A large number of analytical-scientific research projects are initiated every year. New problems and / or gaps are regularly identified, defined, and practical solutions are adopted by NADA. The two WADA-accredited laboratories in Cologne and Kreischa present their research results in specialist publications. They inform WADA and all other laboratories promptly in the event of unexpected problems.

6. On the basis of research results, the doping control system is continuously adapted and possible doping traps are uncovered:
• For example in the area of ​​clenbuterol in meat products from illegal animal fattening, or
• research in the field of nutritional supplements, through which NADA has been able to issue appropriate warnings for athletes for several years.

7. NADA will evaluate the results of the Study and develop prompt solutions. Specifically, this means:
• NADA will sharpen its focus on the existing doping analysis regarding defining the boundaries between the involuntary ingestion of doping substances and conscious use for doping purposes in sport.
• The findings of the research project will be directly incorporated into the results management and disciplinary procedures under sports law.
• NADA will preventively refer to the findings of the Study, create recommendations for action and assistance for athletes and actively communicate them.
• As a further approach, NADA suggests increasing the orientation and frequency of doping controls.
• NADA relies on the effectiveness of Dried Blood Spot tests (www.nada.de/doping-kontroll-system/entwicklung). Regular use of this minimally invasive testing method can protect athletes from doping traps. The accidental intake of doping substances, detected in a urine or blood sample, could be compared with the results from the Dried Blood Test and thus serve to actively and promptly exonerate innocent athletes.
• Finally, NADA will further deepen the approach of non-analytical investigations. Intelligence & Investigations with technical support serves NADA as a basis for additional evidence that can substantiate a doping violation in individual cases, but can also invalidate it. 

8. As the central regulator, WADA is now called upon to make direct requirements for dealing with the findings of the Study and the effects on the doping control system worldwide.

9. NADA will do everything in its power to protect athletes from possible manipulation and doping traps. We are available to all athletes at any time if they have any questions.

• This media release was published by the German anti-doping agency (NADA Deutschland) on 16 July 2021. Click here for the original.

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