Substantial Assistance

Potential benefits are available for an athlete or person if they co-operate with an anti-doping investigation. The benefits flow from rules about ‘substantial assistance’ in the in the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code).

About substantial assistance

Substantial assistance is when a person who may have committed an anti-doping rule violation co-operates with anti-doping organisations, a criminal authority or a professional disciplinary body and provides certain assistance and information about other people. This information will need to help us establish anti-doping violations, or other offences, committed by other people.

If a person provides substantial assistance, they may be eligible for up to a 75 per of the otherwise applicable sanction to be suspended.

There are strict rules in the Code and sport anti-doping policies about the eligibility and application of any possible benefits for substantial assistance.

How substantial assistance works?

We will consider recommending that part of a sanction be suspended if we are satisfied that the person meets several criteria outlined below.

If the person meets the criteria, a sport may suspend, for example, up to 3 years of a 4-year sanction. This would mean a person would only serve one year ineligibility, and after that one year the person could go back to training and competing in sport. The World Anti-Doping Agency can also agree to not publicly disclose an anti-doping rule violation in exchange for substantial assistance.

To be eligible for substantial assistance a person must:

  • Fully disclose in a signed written statement all the information they know about anti-doping rule violations, or other qualifying offences.
  • Fully co-operate with the investigation and adjudication of any case related to the information they provide in their statement. This may involve giving evidence at a hearing if requested to do so.
  • The information provided must be credible and must comprise an important part of any existing case. If no case is initiated the information must provide a sufficient basis on which to begin a case.

If the person fails to meet the criteria, their full period of ineligibility may be reinstated.

Providing information at a later date

The earlier a person co-operates and provides useful information that amounts to substantial assistance, the greater likelihood that they will be eligible for substantial assistance.

If a person delays in providing information, the same information might be given to us by someone else. If that happens, when they do decide to co-operate, they will not be entitled to any potential benefits for substantial assistance.

Appealing a decision about substantial assistance

The sports’ International Federation and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) may appeal a decision to suspend part of a sanction for substantial assistance in the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

If this were to occur, the onus would be on the individual to demonstrate that the decision to suspend part of the sanction for substantial assistance was reasonable and in accordance with the Code.