Clean Sport

British Rowing strongly believes in clean sport and works in partnership with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and our international federation, World Rowing, to ensure the integrity of British Rowing is protected.


The Prohibited List 2021 is now available and will come into effect 1 January 2021.

For more information read about it here: WADA Releases 2021 Prohibited List

All rowers have the right to compete in sport knowing that they, and their competitors, are clean. The use of performance-enhancing drugs and other doping behaviour severely damages the legitimacy of sport and undermines the integrity of clean rowers.

Anti-Doping Rules

The anti-doping rules of British Rowing are the UK Anti-Doping Rules published by UK Anti-Doping (or its successor, as amended from time to time). These are consistent with the World Anti-Doping Code (2015 Code), which governs anti-doping internationally. Such rules shall take effect and be construed as the rules of British Rowing.

The UK Anti-Doping Rules are also referenced in the British Rowing Rules of Racing. All members of British Rowing are subject to both the UK Anti-Doping Rules and the British Rowing Rules of Racing as set out in British Rowing’s Anti-Doping Policy which can be found on our Policies and Guidance page under ‘Clean Sport’.

The Prohibited List 2020 came into effect 1 January 2020. The Prohibited List identifies the substances and method’s that are not permitted in and out of competition. For more information, you can find a factsheet about the Prohibited List 2020 on RowHow.

Clean Sport Education

Clean Sport Workshops

British Rowing delivers Clean Sport workshops to support clubs and rowers. Click here for more information on how to request or attend a workshop.

Clean Sport Awards

British Rowing also delivers a free, online Clean Sport learning course on RowHow called the ‘Clean Sport Awards’. If you wish to develop your knowledge around Clean Sport, but cannot attend a workshop, then please click here.

Who do the rules apply to?

If you are involved in rowing at any level, and in any discipline, these rules apply to you, regardless of your age, or whether you are competing, coaching or supporting rowers.

If you are competing at any British Rowing affiliated event, you will be subject to doping control, which may result in you having to provide a sample to a Doping Control Officer. This includes all athletes, of any age, gender or discipline, anytime and anywhere. For further information, please see the Understanding the Testing Process section at the bottom of this page.

Anti-Doping Rule Violations

The 2015 Code outlines ten Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs). Athletes and Athlete Support Personnel may receive a ban from sport if they commit any one of the ADRVs.

The ten ADRVs can be found below;

1.    Presence

2.    Use or attempted Use

3.    Evading, Failing or Refusing

4.    Whereabouts Failures

5.    Tampering or attempted Tampering

6.    Possession

7.    Trafficking or attempted Trafficking

8.    Administration, Aiding and Abetting

9.    Complicity

10.  Prohibited Association


Under the 2015 Code, a minimum four-year ban from sport will apply to those who are found to be deliberately cheating and breaking the Anti-Doping Rules.

The UK Anti-Doping Rules are very unforgiving of cheats, as well as negligent athletes. All rowers who have been found to inadvertently use banned substances are still likely to face a two-year ban from sport.

All rowers, coaches and members of British Rowing should make a conscious effort to increase their Clean Sport knowledge, so they can reduce the chance of any inadvertent doping. British Rowing Members can carry out a free Clean Sport E-learning, called the ‘Clean Sport Awards’ which can be found here.

Managing Inadvertent Doping Risks

All banned substances and methods in Code-Compliant sports, such as rowing, are outlined in the Prohibited List which is updated at the beginning of every calendar year, but may also be updated throughout the year. The most up to date version of the Prohibited List can be found on World Anti-Doping Agency’s website. UK Anti-Doping provides guidance on the Prohibited List on their website.

It is vital that athletes who are competing at British Rowing affiliated events understand what is meant by the ‘In-Competition Period’, which is a period of time where certain substances’ banned status changes from not-prohibited to prohibited.

In-Competition Period

Some substances on the Prohibited List are only prohibited during the In-Competition Period. The In-Competition Period is defined by FISA and British Rowing to be “the period commencing 12 hours before the first Competition of said Event in which the Rower is scheduled to participate through to the end of the Sample collection process related to the last Competition of the Rower at such Event”.

Athletes must be aware that if they have a substance which is banned In-Competition, in their system during the In-Competition Period, they could face a ban from rowing. The determining factor is when the sample is in your system, not when the sample was ingested that determines its In-Competition status, meaning that if the substance is in your system during the In-Competition Period, even though it was consumed in the Out-of-Competition period, it will be considered an Anti-Doping Rule Violation. Athletes who want to check which substances are prohibited In-Competition must refer to substance categories 6, 7, 8 and 9 on The Prohibited List.

Strict Liability

The fundamental anti-doping principle of strict liability means that rowers are solely responsible for their conduct, the decisions they make and for any banned substance they use, attempt to use, or that is found in their system, regardless of how it got there and whether or not they had an intention to cheat.

It is therefore important that all rowers conduct themselves within the rules and make informed decisions to ensure they train and race clean, using the anti-doping resources available to them.

Some resources which could be of use to British Rowing Members include;

  • The 100% ME Clean Sport App, which can be downloaded through any app provider.
  • The Clean Sport Awards, a free online learning platform for British Rowing Members.
  • The UK Anti-Doping website also has an abundance of free resources available to athletes and coaches.

Understanding the Testing Process

Athletes must be prepared for the possibility of having to take part in a drugs test when competing at any British Rowing or British Rowing affiliated event.

Who can be tested?

In 2018, UKAD carried out 97 tests on British Rowing athletes, equating to 1 test every 4 days. It is not just rowers in the GBRT who are required to follow the Anti-Doping rules. Every British Rowing member who is competing in British Rowing or British Rowing affiliated events and races are subject to doping control, regardless of age, gender, classification, discipline or skill level. Any athlete can be tested anytime, anywhere.

Where and When can I be tested?

UK Anti-Doping carries out both ‘In-Competition Testing’ and ‘Out-of-Competition Testing’ within Rowing, and many other sports. All British Rowing athletes may have to submit to In-Comp or Out-of-Comp testing during a stage in their competitive career.

In-Competition testing refers to being tested within the In-Competition Period. This is the period defined by FISA and British Rowing as ‘“the period commencing 12 hours before the first Competition of said Event in which the Rower is scheduled to participate through to the end of the Sample collection process related to the last Competition of the Rower at such Event”. This can take place at any British Rowing racing event or British Rowing affiliated racing event throughout the year.

Out-of-Competition testing refers to being tested at any other time, outside of the In-Competition period. While this does include any location suitable for testing, the locations used are typically your home or your training venue.

Athletes Rights

Throughout the doping control process, athletes have several rights that they should be aware of prior to being tested. Athletes have the right to;

  1. Request to see Doping Control Personnel Identification
  2. Be accompanied by a Representative
  3. Request a delay to Doping Control
  4. Be observed while providing a sample by a Doping Control Personnel of the same gender
  5. Hear additional information regarding the progress
  6. Receive a copy of the Doping Control Form
  7. Confidentiality in the Results process
  8. Request modifications to the process

It is very important that athletes familiarise themselves with their rights before they are tested, as this will ease the testing process, reducing the risk of any mishaps.

Testing Procedure

For both In-Comp and Out-of-Comp tests, the procedure is usually as follows;

  1. Athlete is notified and identified
  2. Athlete is chaperoned to Doping Control Station
  3. Athlete selects a collection vessel
  4. Athlete provides a sample
  5. Suitability of the sample is tested
  6. Athlete completes recording and certifying information

For athletes with either a physical or visual impairment, as well as athletes who are minors, there are modifications made by UK Anti-Doping to the testing process, which will better suit the needs of that athlete.

Further Information

It is highly recommended that all members of British Rowing, including coaches, parents and volunteers, as well as competitive and non-competitive athletes understand the Testing Process. To do so, British Rowing members can access the Clean Sport Awards, where we have free E-learning on the Testing Process.

Supplements and Nutrition

If you are an athlete who is considering buying and consuming supplements, it is vitally important that you carry out thorough research before buying and consuming said supplements. We encourage you to also familiarise yourself with British Rowing’s Supplement Policy.

British Rowing Supplement Policy


A fundamental principle of Clean Sport is ANARAC. Assess the Need, Assess the Risk, Assess the Consequences. Before purchasing and consuming supplements, athletes must understand that in doing so, they are accepting some major risks to their health and are increasing the possibility of consuming a banned substance. It is also important that you assess the risks that come with supplement use, such as possible contamination or hidden ingredients. Finally, athletes should consider the possible consequences of consuming a banned substance, or indeed a hidden ingredient within a supplement.

Junior Athletes and Supplements

British Rowing recommends that no Junior rower should be using any supplements without medical prescription; rowers under 18 years of age are advised to concentrate on learning and implementing good training, good diet and well-rehearsed recovery strategies.

Food First

In order to optimise rowing performance, athletes must understand how to effectively fuel their bodies. Although supplements have been shown to improve performance, it is important that all athletes consider a ‘Food First’ approach. This way, athletes can avoid the risk of consuming a banned substance from a supplement. For more information on how to fuel for performance through food, please see the Nutrition Guide for High-Performance Rowers, written by Wendy Martinson.

Checking Supplements

Supplement Facts

Athletes must be aware that while some supplements declare on their label that they contain prohibited substances, there is an abundance of supplements that do not.

The International Olympic Committee carried out a study in 2001, analysing 634 supplements. They found that out of those supplements, 14.8% of them contained prohibited substances which were not included on the label.


In order for athletes to reduce the risk of consuming banned substances, athletes should familiarise themselves with the Risk Minimisation scheme, Informed-Sport.

Informed-Sport is an initiative that supports athletes, and anyone who wants to use supplements, in assessing the risks associated with using supplements. Informed-Sport is a supplement testing and certification programme which aims to assure Athletes that supplements which carry the Informed-Sport logo have been tested for some prohibited substances and manufactured to strict standards.

Users can search for tested supplements by searching the product name, type and batch number. If you wish to learn more about Informed-Sport, as well as supplements and the risks associated with their use then please visit RowHow, where we have free online learning material on Supplements.


British Rowing Supplement Policy

Checking Medications

The use of medications in Rowing must be done so with the utmost caution. Some medications contain certain banned substances which are on WADA’s Prohibited List. To avoid inadvertent doping, athletes must make sure to check their medications for banned substances before consumption.

Global DRO

In order to check the contents of medication, athletes should use the online tool, Global DRO. Global DRO is based on the WADA Prohibited List and provides users with information about the prohibited or non-prohibited status of medications, along with detailed information on the ingredients. Global DRO has been developed in conjunction with several National Anti-Doping Agencies and is used by thousands of athletes worldwide.

To search medications, users must simply enter in details of their sport nationality, along with the sport they compete in and what their roles is, i.e. if they are an athlete or coach. Once this is done, users must enter the name of their medication and where they purchased it, in order for them to search for their medication and be given details of the medications prohibited status, along with the prohibited status of each separate ingredient.

For more information on how to use Global DRO, please visit the ‘Understanding Global DRO’ section of the Clean Sport Awards.

In-Competition and Out-Of-Competition Periods

UK Anti-Doping carries out both In-Competition and Out-Of-Competition testing as part of their testing program. There are certain substances on the Prohibited List which are banned during the In-Competition Period, but not the Out-of-Competition period.

Because of this, it is vital that athletes make themselves aware of the In-Competition definition; “the period commencing 12 hours before the first Competition of said Event in which the Rower is scheduled to participate through to the end of the Sample collection process related to the last Competition of the Rower at such Event”. It is also vital that athletes understand how to check if the medication they wish to take is prohibited either In or Out-Of-Competition, which can be done so using Global DRO.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions

If you are a rower who wishes to compete in British Rowing or British Rowing affiliated events, and you require the use of medication, it is vital that you check whether or not you need to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs)

The TUE process is a means by which an athlete can obtain approval to use a prescribed prohibited substance or method for the treatment of a legitimate medical condition.

Before consuming any medications, athletes must make sure to check if the medication or the method of administration (how you take the medication) is prohibited through using Global DRO. If the medication required is not prohibited, then no further action is needed. However, if the prescribed medication is prohibited, athletes will need to check which type of TUE they require.

TUEs and Retroactive TUEs

In order for an athlete to assess which type of TUE they need, as well as finding out information on the application process for TUEs, athletes should visit the UKAD TUE page. On this page, UKAD has information on the application process, relevant application forms and general information on TUEs themselves. Scroll to the bottom of UKAD’s TUE page to search by sport whether you meet the criteria for an Advance or Retroactive TUE.

British Rowing members are also free to visit the Clean Sport Awards on RowHow where they can find information and learning activities on TUEs and the application process.

Emergency Medication

In the event of an emergency situation and an Athlete needs to be administered with a prohibited substance, it is vital to remember that an Athlete’s health comes first. This is the stance of both British Rowing and UK Anti-Doping. Athletes in this situation can contact UK Anti-Doping and British Rowing for guidance. Please see this useful infographic for some top tips on what to do if you are subjected to emergency treatment.

Clean Sport Resouces

Strict Liability is the underlying principle of Anti-Doping. Athletes are solely responsible for any prohibited substance found in their system despite whether there was an intention to cheat or not. It is imperative that every Athlete understands what Strict Liability means and that they incorporate the principle into their day-to-day lives. Strict Liability requires athletes to make sure they are aware of all their Anti-Doping requirements and making sure that they are taking every appropriate step to actively reduce the risk of inadvertent doping occurring. To do so, British Rowing athletes have an abundance of resources that have been made available to them.

Clean Sport Awards

The Clean Sport Awards are an online learning tool that is accessible to all British Rowing members. To access them, you simply log in to RowHow using your membership details. You can then have access to six modules and activities which will help you develop your knowledge on Clean Sport and Anti-Doping.

Clean Sport on RowHow

British Rowing also hosts a Clean Sport page on its online learning platform, RowHow. Here, British Rowing members can access useful resources such as guides, pdf’s, websites and more. To access these resources, simply login to RowHow using your membership details and head to the Clean Sport page.

100% ME Clean Sport App

100% ME is a UK Anti-Doping athlete education programme that aims to increase understanding of doping-free sport and to promote and encourage personal responsibility. 100% ME is a symbol of an athlete’s effort, commitment and determination to perform at the highest level without a need to enhance their performance. It recognises that choice, personal strength and attitude makes someone a champion and instils integrity and fairness in sport.

Key contacts

British Rowing
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8237 6700

Twitter: @BritishRowing

UK Anti-Doping
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7842 3450
Twitter: @UKAntiDoping

Reporting Doping
Telephone: 08000 32 23 32
or submit a form: submit information to UK Anti-Doping via a secure online form.

World Rowing

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