Whereabouts are information provided by a limited number of top elite athletes about their location to the International Sport Federation or National Anti-Doping Organization that included them in their respective registered testing pool as part of these top elite athletes'anti-doping responsibilities.
What does that mean? Anti-Doping Organizations are required to have out-of-competition testing on top elite athletes. These tests can be conducted anytime, anywhere and without notice to the athletes.
According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) they are the most effective means of deterrence and detection of doping. The WADA is not responsible for deciding who should be part of the registered testing pools. Whereabouts rules are part of the International Standard for Testing (IST).
Violation of applicable requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing, including failure to provide required whereabouts information and missed tests constitutes a violation of an anti-doping rule (doping offence) against articles 2.4 WADA Code 2009 and 2(3)(d) UNESCO Convention.
Any combination of 3 missed tests and/or failure to provide accurate whereabouts information
within an 18-months period now leads to the opening of a disciplinary proceeding by the Anti-Doping Organization with jurisdiction over the athlete. Sanctions range between 1 and 2 years depending on the circumstances of the case.
The Danish cyclist Rasmussen had to leave the Tour de France 2007 after he failed to report his whereabouts to the UCI in a timely fashion over several occasions. Dramatically enough he was in the yellow jersey when the Danish federation went public with the news that he had missed doping controls and dropped him from the national team.
Footballfederations FIFA and UEFA say there are "fundamental differences" between individual athletes and players or teams. FIFA and UEFA "do not accept that controls be undertaken during the short holiday period of players, in order to respect their private life."
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) supports the whereabouts rule: "There's no point in having any whereabouts or testing system at all if it does not actually help the testing authorities locate the athletes who may be cheating.""If you are going to do it at all, you should do it properly". In fact, IAAF advocates even a more strict schedule of testing.
The question remains whether out-of-competition testing violates the right of privacy of an athlete legitimately.
IAAF opninion on "new" whereabouts requirements (March 5, 2009)
FIFA and UEFA reject WADA 'whereabouts' stance (March 24, 2009)
Rasmussen admits lies, claims Rabobank knew his whereabouts (November 9, 2007)
WADA drug rule rejected in Sportsnet.ca (March 24, 2009)
Another blog: Sport and Drugs Procon.org
A selection of relevant publications from the Peace Palace Library collection
- McNAMEE, M. and MØLLER, V. (eds.), Doping and Anti-Doping Policy in Sport : Ethical, legal and social perspectives, 2011
- IOANNIDIS, G., The Application of Criminal Law on Doping Infractions and the "Whereabouts Information" Rule : State Regulation v Self-Regulation, The International Sports Law Journal (2010) 1-2, pp 14-25
- KORNBECK, J., Anti-Doping in and beyond the European Commission's White Paper on Sport, The International Sports Law Journal (2008) 3-4, pp. 30-35
- SOEK, J., The Athlete's Right to Respect for his Private Life and his Home, The International Sports Law Journal (2008) 3-4, pp. 25-28