British Rowing strongly believes in clean sport and works in partnership with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and our international federation, World Rowing, to ensure that rowing’s integrity is protected
British Rowing aspires to empower all participants in rowing with access to support and information to make informed decisions and guide others towards upholding rowing as a Clean Sport.
The 2021 – 2026 Clean Sport Strategy outlines British Rowing’s commitment and key strategic objectives in relation to Clean Sport
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.
The anti-doping rules of British Rowing are the UK Anti-Doping Rules published by UK Anti-Doping. These are consistent with the World Anti-Doping Code (WADA Code), which governs anti-doping internationally.
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, the British Rowing Rules of Racing, and British Rowing’s Anti-Doping Policy. The Rules of Racing and Anti-Doping Policy can be found on our Policies and Guidance webpage.
Who do the anti-doping rules apply to?
The anti-doping rules apply to all rowers at any level, and in any discipline, regardless of their age, and the level that they compete. They also apply to all athlete support personnel such as coaches, volunteers, parents of junior rowers and anyone else with a role in supporting rowers.
Rowers competing at any event affiliated to or recognised by British Rowing will be subject to doping control, which may result in having to provide a sample to a Doping Control Officer. For further information, please see the Understanding the Testing Process section at the bottom of this page.
Recreational athletes and Protected Persons
New definitions in the WADA Code 2021 will allow for more flexibility in ADRV sanctions, for example, the waiving of the requirement to publish a sanction.
This definition will apply during the anti-doping rule violation process to young athletes (under the age of 16 or 18, depending on circumstances), or an athlete who has been determined to lack legal capacity in their decision making e.g. intellectual impairment.
Recreational Athlete: An athlete who is a member of a National Governing Body (NGB), but based on their competition level can be treated differently from either an International Level or National Level Athlete for sanctioning purposes.
All rowers are solely responsible for any banned substance they use, attempt to use, or is found in their system, regardless of how it got there or whether there was any intention to cheat.
It is 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.
Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRV)
An infographic providing further information about the Anti-Doping Rule Violations is available here.
The WADA Code 2021 outlines the following eleven Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs);
The presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample.
2. Use or attempted Use
Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.
3. Evading, Failing or Refusing
Evading, refusing, or failing to submit to sample collection.
4. Whereabouts Failures
Whereabouts failures are considered as any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures within a 12-month period by an athlete in a registered testing pool.
5. Tampering or Attempted Tampering
Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control.
Possession of a prohibited substance or prohibited method.
7. Trafficking or Attempted Trafficking
Trafficking or attempted trafficking in any prohibited substance or prohibited method.
8. Administration, Aiding and Abetting
Administration or attempted administration to any athlete of any prohibited substance or prohibited method.
9. Complicity or attempted Complicity
Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, conspiring, covering up or any other type of intentional complicity or attempted complicity involving an ADRV or any attempted ADRV.
10. Prohibited Association
Associating in a professional or sport-related capacity with a person such as a coach, doctor, physio or trainer who is serving a ban or who has been found guilty of a criminal or disciplinary offence equivalent to a doping violation.
11. Acts to Discourage or Retaliate against reporting to the Authorities
Acts that threaten or seek to intimidate another to discourage them from sharing information about doping (also referred to as whistleblowing), or retaliating against another for doing so.
For Anti-Doping Rule Violations of presence or use of a prohibited substance, the basic rules are as follows:
- If you intended to cheat, whatever the substance, the period of ineligibility is four years
- Otherwise, it is two years – unless you can show you had no significant fault or negligence, in which case ineligibility may be reduced by up to a maximum of one year (that is, to a minimum ineligibility of one year)
- If the violation involved a specified substance or a contaminated product, and you can demonstrate you had no significant fault, ineligibility may range from two years to a reprimand (depending on your level of fault)
You should also be aware that multiple Anti-Doping Rule Violations, or the presence of multiple substances may increase the sanction you face beyond four years.
For some Anti-Doping Rule Violations, the penalty can be a life ban from sport.
The Prohibited List
The Prohibited List 2023 came into effect 1 January 2023. The Prohibited List identifies the substances and method’s that are not permitted in and out of competition. The Prohibited List 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 useful guidance on the Prohibited List.
The Prohibited List indicates whether substances are prohibited in-competition only, or at all times. All rowers must ensure they understand what is meant by the ‘In-Competition Period’.
The In-Competition Period is defined in the WADA Code 2021 as, “The period commencing at 11:59 pm on the day before a competition in which the Athlete is scheduled to compete through to the end of such competition and the Sample collection process related to such competition.”
Rowers must be aware that if they have a substance which is banned in-competition, in their system during the in-competition Period, this could result in an Anti-Doping Rule Violation. The determining factor is when the sample is in your system, not when the sample was ingested, meaning that if the substance is in your system during the in-competition Period, even though it was consumed out-of-competition, it will be considered an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.
Substances of Abuse
The Prohibited List sets out a group of illegal drugs that are misused in society and frequently used outside of a sports enhancement context. For 2023 this is cannabis (THC), heroin, ecstasy (MDMA) and cocaine.
In cases where such substances are found in-competition, there will be a:
substantial reduction in the length of sanction if use occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sports performance
focus on athlete welfare through a further reduction in the length of sanction if an approved treatment programme is completed
Understanding the Testing Process
Who can be tested?
All British Rowing rowers who compete in a rowing event organised by, recognised by or affiliated to British Rowing are subject to doping control, regardless of age, gender, classification, discipline or skill level. Any rower 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’. Any rower at any level may be asked to submit a sample in- or out-of-competition.
In-Competition is defined in the WADA Code 2021 as, “The period commencing at 11:59 pm on the day before a competition in which the Athlete is scheduled to compete through to the end of such competition and the Sample collection process related to such competition.”
Out-of-Competition testing refers to 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.
UK Anti-Doping provides comprehensive information concerning the testing procedure which we recommend you read: https://www.ukad.org.uk/violations/testing-process
For rowers with either a physical or visual impairment, as well as rowers who are minors, there are modifications made by UK Anti-Doping to the testing process in order to protect the integrity of the testing procedure, but also to safeguard the rowers.
Do not refuse a test.
This could result in an ADRV and a ban from sport. Follow instructions provided by Doping Control Personnel and report any concerns on the Doping Control Form, you can also speak to British Rowing by emailing [email protected] or to UK Anti-Doping by emailing [email protected]
Throughout the doping control process, rowers have rights and responsibilities. Rowers have the right to;
- request to see Doping Control Personnel Identification
- be accompanied by a Representative
- request a delay to Doping Control
- be observed while providing a sample by a Doping Control Personnel of the same gender
- hear additional information regarding the sample collection progress
- receive a copy of the Doping Control Form
- request modifications.
It is very important that rowers familiarise themselves with their rights before they are tested, as this will ease the testing process, reducing the risk of any mishaps.
Rowers may also wish to refer to WADA’s Athlete’s Anti-Doping Rights Act, which is based on the 2021 Code and Standards and aims to ensure that athlete rights within anti-doping are clearly set out, accessible, and universally applicable.
- always remain within direct observation of the Doping Control Personnel from the point of notification until the completion of the sample collection procedure
- produce identification such as British Rowing membership card or a driver’s licence
- comply with sample collection procedures
- report immediately for a test, unless there are valid reasons for a delay
- disclose the identity of any Athlete Support Person upon request from an anti-doping organisation
Supplements and Nutrition
Any rower who is considering buying or using supplements, should carry out thorough research, and familiarise themselves with British Rowing’s Supplement Policy.
ANARAC = Assess the Need, Assess the Risk, Assess the Consequences.
All rowers are advised to be vigilant in using any supplement. No guarantee can be given that any particular supplement is free from prohibited substances. Rowers must be aware that while some supplements declare on their label that they contain prohibited substances, there are many that are mislabelled, do not include all the ingredients, or are contaminated during the manufacturing process.
Junior Rowers and Supplements
British Rowing, in line with the Supplement Policy, recommend that no Junior rower use 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.
In order to optimise rowing performance, rowers should understand how to effectively fuel their bodies and consider a ‘Food First’ approach. This way, rowers 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 available on the Training Advice page of this website.
Risk Minimisation with Informed-Sport
Rowers can reduce the risk of consuming banned substances through the risk minimisation scheme, Informed-Sport.
Informed-Sport is a supplement testing and certification programme which aims to assure athletes that supplements acquiring the Informed-Sport accreditation have been tested for some prohibited substances and manufactured to strict standards.
Rowers 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 provided a free online module about Supplements.
Medications prescribed by a doctor or bought directly over the counter may contain prohibited substances. It is a rowers’ responsibility to check their medication before using it, even if they have used it before.
It is also important to note that medications bought abroad may contain different substances to those bought in the UK.
Global DRO provides rowers and support personnel with information about the anti-doping status of specific medications and ingredients based on the current WADA Prohibited List.
Global Dro is simple and easy to use and enables rowers to check medications sold in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Global DRO provides the user with a unique reference number for each search.
For more information on how to use Global DRO, please visit the ‘Understanding Global DRO’ section of the iRowClean Online Modules.
Therapeutic Use Exemptions
Rower health and welfare is vital. If a rower has an illness or condition that requires them to take medication which contains ingredients listed on the Prohibited List, then there are steps they need to take to obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
The TUE process is a means by which a rower can obtain approval to use a prescribed prohibited substance or method for the treatment of a legitimate medical condition.
UK Anti-Doping provide a ‘TUE Wizard’ tool to guide individuals through the requirements for a TUE. For more information or for specific queries relating to TUE requirements you can contact [email protected].
Emergency Medicine – do I need a TUE?
Rowers may in the course of emergency treatment (e.g. surgery or an A&E admission) be provided with drugs or methods which are prohibited in sport. Please see this useful infographic for some top tips on what to do if you require emergency treatment.
Keep Rowing Clean - Report Doping
Everyone in rowing is encouraged to report any concerns you may have that doping is taking place, or could be taking place. Please speak out concerning any suspicions you have, no matter how small.
UK Anti-Doping has a number of ways you can pass on your concerns:
📞 Phone 0800 32 23 32
This is a 24/7 Hotline hosted by Crimestoppers who are there to listen. If you prefer to remain 100% anonymous you can. Or if you share your details, they will be kept confidential and may help keep sport clean.
✉️ Email [email protected]
When you feel something’s wrong, send an email. UKAD guarantee that your name and email address will be kept confidential.
📝Online Form www.protectyoursport.co.uk
Tell UKAD what you know via their online form . You will remain anonymous as standard, but if you choose to share your details confidentially it could help them catch those in sport who seek to cheat.
You can also contact British Rowing’s Anti-Doping and Integrity Manager via: [email protected]
Clean Sport Resources
There are a wide range of resources available to support rowers, parents of junior rowers, coaches, volunteers and anyone else who has a role in supporting rowers:
Digital Posters for your club or gym!
(Click on the image to download)
British Rowing iRowClean Online Modules
The iRowClean Online Modules are a series of six modules free to all British Rowing members. To access them, log in to RowHow using your British Rowing membership details. The modules contain information and activities that will help you develop your knowledge and understanding of Clean Sport and Anti-Doping.
iRowClean Workshops and Webinars
British Rowing deliver UK Anti-Doping Clean Sport workshops, online and face-to-face under the name ‘iRowClean’. These workshops are delivered to key groups outlined in our Education Plan and involve activities designed to ensure understanding, engagement and application of knowledge.
We also provide webinars delivered by Clean Sport educators who will provide information for larger audiences and there will be an opportunity to ask questions.
UK Anti-Doping Coach Clean
Coach Clean is an easy-to-follow e-learning course provided by UK Anti-Doping for coaches who want to know more about clean sport and understand their own responsibilities with regards to anti-doping.
Endorsed by UK Coaching – the central agency for coaching in the UK – it’s the only anti-doping course available in the UK that relates to the coaches role.
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.
For more information about any of the clean sport resources, contact [email protected]
Protect Your Sport
Telephone: 08000 32 23 32