New doping regulations
2015 was the year in which the revised version of the World Anti-Doping Code was first applied. The amendments to the Code have been implemented in the Dutch National Doping Regulations (NDR). A central issue in the new doping rules is the inclusion of intent as a criterion for the determination of a penalty. Depending on whether there is intent on the part of the athlete, the standard penalty can vary from two to four years. If the infringement is considered to be deliberate, the suspension will be for a period of four years and the possibilities for a reduction of the penalty during that time are very limited. If there is no intent or intent cannot be proven, the penalty may, depending on the detected substance or situation, be much less than two years.
This system, in which the penalty imposed pursuant to a positive result is primarily determined by the question of whether there is intent, is very different from the previous Code. If there is intent, the defence cannot invoke the absence of significant fault or negligence.
Another important change in the NDR is that an athlete can qualify for a reduction of the penalty if he or she can prove that certain substances have been used out of competition or in a context that is not related to sporting performance.
The amendments to the Code listed here have, together with numerous other amendments, been included in the NDR. This required a drastic change in the approach by disciplinary committees to cases involving doping. In a range of proceedings, the disciplinary committees granted the athletes concerned more time to submit their defences in order to be able to make a full assessment of whether there was any question of intent in the particular case or to clarify the context in which use had taken place.
In the end, all decisions in doping proceedings where there was a positive result complied with the NDR and the Code.
Contributions to doping proceedings
The NDR requires the Doping Authority to be closely involved in disciplinary proceedings relating to doping. In addition to attending disciplinary hearings and speaking at hearings in doping proceedings, the main activities of the Doping Authority in the context of disciplinary proceedings consist of submitting arguments. The competence of the Doping Authority with respect to stating arguments of this kind is rooted in the doping regulations adopted by all the elite sports associations, as well as the ISR.
The purpose is to give the Doping Authority the opportunity to discuss and explain the file and the relevant provisions of the NDR, and to discuss the evidence, the defence, and the relevant International Standards. In other words, by stating arguments, the Doping Authority can provide disciplinary committees with a picture of the legal context, discuss crucial provisions from the doping regulations and/or International Standards, and respond to the defence of the athlete or other persons.
The Doping Authority submitted written arguments in all doping proceedings initiated with disciplinary colleges in 2015.
The Doping Authority worked intensively with the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) in late 2014 and early 2015. The (CIRC) is a commission established by the international cycling union UCI to investigate doping issues in cycling and the role played by the UCI in that respect.