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Contexts and conditions for a level playing field: Elite athletes’ perspectives on anti-doping in practice
Högskolan i Gävle, Akademin för hälsa och arbetsliv, Avdelningen för hälso- och vårdvetenskap, Idrottsvetenskap. Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, Stockholm.ORCID-id: 0000-0001-8942-3058
The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID-id: 0000-0003-1230-3415
Högskolan i Gävle, Akademin för hälsa och arbetsliv, Avdelningen för socialt arbete och psykologi, Socialt arbete.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-2885-0635
School of Social Work, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-2429-4475
2016 (engelsk)Inngår i: Performance Enhancement & Health, ISSN 2211-2669, E-ISSN 2211-2669, Vol. 5, nr 2, s. 77-85Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) 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.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2016. Vol. 5, nr 2, s. 77-85
Emneord [en]
Legitimacy, Anti-doping, Harmonization, Doping in sports, Sports policy
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22489DOI: 10.1016/j.peh.2016.08.001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84994234525OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-22489DiVA, id: diva2:972549
Tilgjengelig fra: 2016-09-21 Laget: 2016-09-21 Sist oppdatert: 2019-01-23bibliografisk kontrollert
Inngår i avhandling
1. Anti-doping – a legitimate effort?: Elite athletes' perspectives on policy and practice
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Anti-doping – a legitimate effort?: Elite athletes' perspectives on policy and practice
2019 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, med artikler (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

The global anti-doping enterprise in sport is a comprehensive system in which the athlete is at the centre of regulation, scrutiny and control. There is limited knowledge about the implications of this extensive control system for athletes and about how athletes perceive the system; little is known about possible consequences of these implications and perceptions for the legitimacy of the system. The overall aim of this thesis is to analyse the legitimacy of global anti-doping policy and practice from the perspectives of international elite athletes.

Four articles are included in this compilation thesis. The first illustrates, based on a discourse analytical approach, how claims for legitimacy of the anti-doping system are produced in policy documents aimed at athletes. The second explores the perceptions and legitimacy of anti-doping policy and practice through a survey aimed at elite athletes in different sports and from different regions of the world. The third article examines, through an interview study, how athletes in different contexts experience the practice of anti-doping and what consequences this may have for the system's legitimacy. The interview study was also the basis for the fourth article, focusing on the athletes' experiences and perceptions of their opportunities for compliance and how this is related to their view of the system's legitimacy. Using the four articles as a basis, the analysis of legitimacy within the anti-doping system is expanded in the thesis through an overarching analytical framework inspired by David Beetham.

The results show that the legitimacy of the policy documents is based on essentially authoritative, but also rational, arguments for justifying the anti-doping enterprise. Elite athletes are generally in favour of anti-doping policy and the principle that doping should be prohibited. However, when the rules are implemented into practice, problems to do with lack of procedural justice arise which may have an impact on the system's legitimacy. Procedures in the system are perceived as having a negative effect on sportspersons' private life, and as ineffective and unequally implemented across the world; also, athletes have little influence over decision-making processes. Anti-doping practice is moreover perceived to cause structural inequalities due to inequality in access to technology, education and knowledge as well as supportive systems. Most athletes wish to comply with the rules, but many struggle with lack of control and have limited scope for taking responsibility regarding compliance with the doping rules. Even when athletes are dutiful and perform acts that confer legitimacy to the rules and the authorities, some experiences and perceptions could endanger the legitimacy of antidoping, as seen in the overall legitimacy analysis of the thesis. Athletes' perceptions of inequality, ineffectiveness and lack of leeway can be interpreted as a lack of rule conformity to the anti-doping authority. There also appears to be a lack of shared normative beliefs between sportspersons and the anti-doping authorities, as many athletes feel that their opinions are not taken into account. Decision-making processes that do not pay attention to the perceptions of those involved can result in a discrepancy between the rules and the norms.

The international anti-doping system is a major international enterprise with comprehensive rules that need to be applied equally around the world, and that also need to be legitimated in different countries where athletes have different conditions to comply with the regulations. In this thesis, I have shown that these different conditions have consequences for the ability to comply with the rules and also for the application of the regulations. The far-reaching rules mean that procedures within the system are experienced as causing a number of negative consequences. I have shown that this poses a risk to the legitimacy of the system if these problems are not addressed.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH, 2019. s. 93
Emneord
Anti-doping, Doping in sports, Legitimacy, Elite athletes, Compliance, WADA
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Samhällsvetenskap/Humaniora
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29152 (URN)978-91-983151-6-5 (ISBN)
Disputas
2019-02-08, Krusenstiernasalen, Högskolan i Gävle, Kungsbäcksvägen 47, 13:00 (svensk)
Opponent
Veileder
Tilgjengelig fra: 2019-01-22 Laget: 2019-01-22 Sist oppdatert: 2019-12-12bibliografisk kontrollert

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