Centre for Human Performance
Blowing the whistle on doping in sport through evidence-informed policymaking
Anti-doping organisations worldwide are compelling those with information on violations of the World Anti-Doping Code to come forward and disclose so that action can be taken. Yet, limited attention has been afforded to deepening our understanding of the individual, situational and/or cultural factors that influence individuals’ decisions to report anti-doping rule violations in sport. By developing an understanding of the barriers to reporting on doping, sport will be better placed to address these barriers and create a culture of speaking up about doping.
Every time an athlete or athlete support personnel is deterred from speaking up, an opportunity to protect the rights of athletes and the wider community for clean sport is missed. Establishing a culture where people feel able to speak up and have confidence that their concerns will be listened to - and acted upon - is arguably the most important element of whistleblowing policy and practice. Reporting doping is about more than just individuals: it is collective and cultural.
This five-phase program of research established an evidence-base for informing WADA’s whistleblowing framework for reporting doping behaviors by employing a mixed-methods approach grounded in theory and informed by whistleblowing and antidoping literature.
This research has already had global impact on sporting communities and organisations. For example, it has directly informed the development of global good practice guidelines published by the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime regarding receiving and handling reports of wrongdoing.
How an organisation or a sporting community responds to athletes and support personnel speaking up about doping is critical. We need to activate and amplify the integrity voice in sport so that it becomes part of the conversation. Without the courageous actions of the people we spoke to and storied in our film, we would still be in the dark. Let’s recognise those who shine a light on doping in sport because they are not a snitch or a betrayer, they are integrity lumieres.
Outputs and recognition
- “The process isn’t a case of report it and stop”: Athletes’ lived experience of whistleblowing on doping in sport
- “I don’t know if I would report them”: Student-athletes’ thoughts, feelings and anticipated behaviours on blowing the whistle on doping in sport
- Reporting doping in sport: national level athletes' perceptions of their role in doping prevention
- Survey shows many potential doping whistleblowers unsure where to turn | Guardian
- Negative backlash for reporting doping the biggest barrier for potential whistleblowers, study finds | Cycling Weekly
- Whistleblowers reluctant to betray friends, says report | Indian Express
- Yorkshire at the forefront of beating doping in sport | Yorkshire Post
- Whistleblowing: athletes shouldn’t have to choose between their careers and the truth | The Conversation
- Doping: why some athletes are reluctant to speak out | The Conversation
- Whistleblowers Reluctant To Betray Doping Friends, Says Report | Capital FM
Podcasts discussing the finding of our research on reporting doping in sport
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