FIFA has published the FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations 2021 edition (FIFA ADR 2021).

This comes after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) approving the new World Anti-Doping Code (the Code), which will come into force on 1 January 2021. FIFA is a signatory of the Code and all signatories have to implement the code as part of their own anti-doping regulations. The FIFA ADR 2021 will also come into force on 1 January 2021.

Key Changes:

  • The in-competition period starts at 23:59 the day before a match and ends at the end of the match “including the sample collection process relating to the match”. This is a significant definition to understand as sanctions differ between substances ingested ‘in’ and ‘out’ of competition. 

  • Distinguishing between types of players - Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) sanctions are lowered and a more relaxed adjudication process is in place for “protected persons” (minors and/or persons with no international experience) and “recreational players” (players who have not played internationally or nationally for the last 5 years).

  • The period of ineligibility for Substances of Abuse “substances frequently abused outside the context of sport” (people may commonly refer to these substances as recreational drugs) is 3 months. The period of ineligibility can be reduced to 1 month where the player can prove the substance was ingested outside the context of sport and the player agrees to complete a rehabilitation program which has been approved by FIFA. Prior to this, players could face a ban which lasted for years rather than months.

  • “Threatening another person or discouraging that person from reporting information to authorities” is now an ADRV.

  • The FIFA ADR 2021 places a strong focus on education. Education is now defined as “the process of instilling values and developing behaviour that foster and protect the spirit of the sport, and to prevent intentional and unintentional doping”.

What Happens Next?

FIFA Member Associations can choose whether to adopt the regulations directly by “creating its own regulations or adapt its provisions by adopting the wording of the FIFA ADR and/or their principles”, or adopt the regulations by referring to the FIFA ADR 2021.
Member Associations have to notify FIFA in writing by 3 November 2020 whether their ADRV will adopt directly or by reference
FIFA will be providing support to Member Associations by providing webinars.
The FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations 2021 can be found here. ​

If you have any queries about this article or would like to know more about the Brandsmiths sports law team, please contact Imani Modahl on 0161 464 9257or 


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