Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

WADA’s anti-doping policy and athletes’ right to privacy

Claudio Tamburrini


In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) Anti-doping Code, athletes are regularly tested for forbidden doping substances in connection with sport competitions. Their samples are stored for long time, in case new doping detection techniques are developed in the future that might allow finding forbidden substances not detectable at present. As Wada’s ambition is not only to have clean competitions, but also clean athletes, different measures need to be implemented to facilitate testing in-between competitions as well. One of them is making sportspersons fill a form to inform doping controllers about their whereabouts, so that they can reach the athletes and make them undergo unannounced tests.

Wada’s anti-doping policy has been widely criticized for violating athletes’ right to privacy. However, this debate is often carried out as if it was crystal clear what kind of right this supposed athletes’ right to privacy is. In this article, the notion of privacy is characterized as a previous step to asking in which regards Wada’s anti-doping policy might turn out to be problematic from the point of view of privacy protection. A preliminary conclusion reached is that the right of privacy is not a single right, but rather a cluster of rights, each one designed to protect different areas of our lives, and each one derived in its turn from other, more fundamental rights. A further conclusion to be advanced in this article is that Wada’s whereabouts policy cannot be condoned by any of the moral philosophical approaches traditionally discussed in connection with privacy.

Paraules clau

privacy; anti-doping; WADA

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