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Efverström, A., Ahmadi, N., Hoff, D. & Bäckström, Å. (2016). Anti-doping and legitimacy: an international survey of elite athletes’ perceptions. International Journal of Sport Policy, 8(3), 491-514
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Anti-doping and legitimacy: an international survey of elite athletes’ perceptions
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Sport Policy, ISSN 1940-6940, E-ISSN 1940-6959, Vol. 8, no 3, p. 491-514Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Anti-doping work is a comprehensive enterprise that entails control and governance of elite athletes’ everyday lives. However, in policy-making regarding doping and anti-doping in elite sports, the athletes’ perspective has not been considered adequately. Focusing on elite athletes’ perceptions of anti-doping as both principle and praxis, the study aimed to analyse how these perceptions can be understood from a legitimacy perspective. A survey study involving 261 elite athletes from 51 different countries and four international sports federations was conducted. The results showed that the athletes did not question the legitimacy of the rules, but had concerns about the legitimacy of the way the rules and principles are enforced in practice, specifically with regard to matters of privacy, lack of efficiency and equal conditions as well as athletes’ involvement in the anti-doping work. The article describes how athletes’ perceptions of the legitimacy of anti-doping work constitute the basis for their willingness to follow regulations as well as a precondition for the work’s functionality and stability. In light of this finding, the article calls for the empowerment of athletes in anti-doping work.

Keywords
anti-doping policy, anti-doping practice, doping in sports, performance-enhancing drugs, legitimacy
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21529 (URN)10.1080/19406940.2016.1170716 (DOI)000390991800009 ()2-s2.0-84969235547 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-05-30 Created: 2016-05-30 Last updated: 2019-01-23Bibliographically approved
Efverström, A., Bäckström, Å., Ahmadi, N. & Hoff, D. (2016). Contexts and conditions for a level playing field: Elite athletes’ perspectives on anti-doping in practice. Performance Enhancement & Health, 5(2), 77-85
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contexts and conditions for a level playing field: Elite athletes’ perspectives on anti-doping in practice
2016 (English)In: Performance Enhancement & Health, ISSN 2211-2669, E-ISSN 2211-2669, Vol. 5, no 2, p. 77-85Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The implementation of global anti-doping regulations was intended to provide a level playing field for all athletes entering sports competitions. However, studies have shown that the worldwide harmonization of rules has not been entirely efficacious. For instance, great variation has been found in how anti-doping organizations implement anti-doping regulations, and it has also been shown that athletes distrust the equivalence of the worldwide rules as regards their effects. The purpose of the present article is to examine how elite athletes from different contexts experience anti-doping procedures and to analyse the legitimacy of anti-doping practice. In order to capture a variety of voices and perspectives, 13 elite athletes from five different continents and three international sports federations were interviewed. The analysis shows that when global anti-doping policy is implemented in different contexts and under different conditions, inequities and structural injustices emerge concerning infrastructure, knowledge and support at the individual athlete level. These consequences may have implications for the legitimacy of anti-doping work, because the existence of procedural justice may be called into question. We therefore suggest that anti-doping policy-making should be based on taking into account these different conditions and being aware of the perspectives that underpin regulations intended to be applied global.

Keywords
Legitimacy, Anti-doping, Harmonization, Doping in sports, Sports policy
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22489 (URN)10.1016/j.peh.2016.08.001 (DOI)2-s2.0-84994234525 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-09-21 Created: 2016-09-21 Last updated: 2019-01-23Bibliographically approved
Efverström, A., Ahmadi, N., Bäckström, Å. & Hoff, D. (2014). Anti-doping and legitimacy: An international survey of elite athletes’ perceptions. In: : . Paper presented at International Network of Humanistic Doping Research, INHDR, 27-28 August 2015, Aarhus, Denmark (pp. 115). Elsevier, 3
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Anti-doping and legitimacy: An international survey of elite athletes’ perceptions
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Although there are a number of studies on policy making concerning doping and anti-doping in elite sports, the athletes’ perspective has largely been neglected. The present study contributes to bridging this gap. Since forming and developing the anti-doping policy utterly depends on how legitimate the practitioners believe this policy to be, the specific aim for this paper is to study how elite athletes at the broad international arena perceive the legitimacy of anti-doping policy and practices. An on-line questionnaire, designed to capture elite athletes’ perceptions, was answered by 261 respondents from 51 different countries and four international sports federations. Respondents were elite athletes belonging to the International Registered Testing Pool of each federation. The respondents were generally supportive towards anti-doping policy. Over 80% agreed that different anti-doping activities, from doping controls and the whereabouts system to storing of test samples and biological passports, are essential parts of the work against doping in sports. Support for anti-doping policy is also shown when 80% of the athletes agreed that anti-doping work should develop in a way that there is the same level of, or more, anti-doping activities compared to the current. The principle of anti-doping is, in this study, shown to be legitimate. However, at the level of practices, four areas were perceived as challenging. Regarding practical procedures, 34% experienced difficulties filing whereabouts information and 73% felt worried that they won’t be available for testing at the right place and right time in correlation to the whereabouts information they had provided. Concerning the athletes’ personal life and privacy, 50% of female athletes and 30% of males stated that they feel somewhat or very uncomfortable regarding their privacy when providing a urine sample. Furthermore, in regard to the whereabouts system, 47% of the respondents stated that they feel monitored. The efficacy and equality of anti-doping work is put under question by 58% who believed that users of forbidden substances/methods escape detection and 44% who did not believe that the whereabouts system is working properly in all countries. 70% of the respondents did not believe that all athletes applying for a therapeutic use exemption are treated in the same way. Regarding the athletes influence and participation in the policy work, 85% believe that athletes should be more involved. These four areas can be seen as unintended consequences of the work and reveal a weak point for the legitimacy of anti-doping when the athletes not fully perceive procedural justice. In conclusion, legitimacy for anti-doping policy in general is strong while a questioning of the legitimacy in the execution of the rules is discerned. If anti-doping authorities wish to maintain and increase the legitimacy of the anti-doping efforts, a thorough understanding for and consideration of the athletes’ perceptions is beneficial.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Series
Performance Enhancement & Health, ISSN 2211-2669 ; 3:2
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22490 (URN)10.1016/j.peh.2015.06.028 (DOI)
Conference
International Network of Humanistic Doping Research, INHDR, 27-28 August 2015, Aarhus, Denmark
Available from: 2016-09-21 Created: 2016-09-21 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-2429-4475

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