“LEGAL ASPECTS OF DOPING ACCORDING TO GREEK LAW”
DIMITRIOS P. PANAGIOTOPOULOS
Associate Professor of Sports Law of the University of Athens,
Attorney at law, Greece
President of the Hellenic Center of Research on Sports Law
President of the International Association of Sports Law (I.A.S.L.),
Vice President of Central Greece University
A. Applicable Law on Doping According to the Domestic Sports Law
Use of doping substances by an athlete reveals not only a tendency to
prominence at any cost, but especially an anti-athletic behaviour undermining
any concept of sportsmanship and sporting values. Special legal provisions
govern the doping issue1. The Greek legislator had established early enough
specific and detailed anti-doping regulations in the Law 1646/1986, which
included sanctions in cases of doping substances by ex officio prosecution.
Administrative sanctions were also imposed, while a doping-control
procedure of amateur and professional athletes was also provided for football
and other sport events 2 . According to the above-mentioned Law,
administering to an athlete or receiving any substance capable of inducing an
artificial change in fitness and sporting ability, using any kind of physical or
neurological stimulation, as well as blood transfusion prior to the game, was
prohibited3. It is noteworthy that not only pharmaceutical substances but also
other means of athlete stimulation, like blood transfusion, were also under
1. Doping Definition and Terminology
Doping is prohibited as contrary to the fundamental principles of
Olympic Spirit, fair-play and medical ethics. Besides, it jeopardizes athletes’
health – especially of minors – and may spoil the game outcome and the
genuine sports efforts4.
1 Law 2725/99 Article 128Α –128ΙΔ, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 233, cf. the previous law
1646/1986, and also D. Panagiotopoulos, (1997), Sports Code, A. Sakkoulas, Athens-Komotini,
2 Recommendatory Report for Law 1646/86, Proceedings of the Greek Parliament 1986.
3 Law 1646/1986, Article 7 §1 cf. D. Panagiotopoulos Sports Code, ibid., p. 82.
4 Law 2725/199 Article 128, added by Article 52 of the Act 3057/2002, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code,
2009), p. 233.
Under the provisions of the Sports Act 2725/99 and the threat of
specific sanctions use of internationally prohibited pharmaceuticals aiming at
enhancing the sports performance5 is prohibited.
The domestic sports law on the issue of doping is in line with
international sports authorities, especially the Olympic Charter and the
international sports federations.
Domestic sports federations have to include to their rules the
respective provisions of the IOC Medical Code as well as its decisions on
doping6; they are also obliged to comply with the WADA anti-doping Code.
The sports federation represents the sport internationally, according to the
rules in force of the respective international sports federation and the
International Olympic Committee7. Consequently, federations are explicitly
obliged to integrate in their rules IOC regulations and decisions on doping,
henceforth directly applicable in the domestic sports law.
The WADA Universal Code is binding for the international sports
movement, but it is not binding for states8. Thus, the UNESCO Convention
was necessary in order to:
a) provide the state governments with a mechanism of supporting the
WADA Code, and
b) because there are acts and activities which cannot be performed by
international sports organizations or WADA9. States-parties acceding to the
WADA Code, may adopt supplementary and more severe measures than
those provided for by the Convention10. According to Article 5, states may
have different approaches to doping prevention, but what is important is the
result rather than the procedure, with specific measures of doping control and
5 Recommendatory Report of V Revisionary Greek Parliament, Proceedings of the Greek
Parliament 1975, Sports Code (1997) p. 382.
6 Law 2725/1999 Article 26 par. 4 combined with 27, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 29, 30.
7 Article 19 par. 2 of Law 2725/1999. in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 22.
8 WADA is a Swiss private law foundation consisting by 50% of government
representatives, and by 50% of sports organization representatives (IOC, International
Federations et al.). Ministers Responsible for Sport, Budapest (14-15.10.2004) MSL-10 (2004)
9 The definitions provided by the Convention are virtually identical to those of the
WADA Code, cf ANT. Bredimas, (2005), "Multilateral Diplomacy on Sports", in: Sports law :
Implementation and the Olympic Games (D Panagiotopoulos ed), Ant. Sakkoulas: Athens; Also
in Lex Sportiva (2005), according to the Author, " this Code, although annexed to the
UNESCO Convention, is not an integrated part of it, because numerous sections of the Code
are intended for the sports movement, and not the governments. On the contrary, the WADA
International Standards raise binding obligations for governments, hence they constitute an
integrated part of the UNESCO Convention ".
10 Relations between UNESCO Code and WADA Code were discussed in the 10th Conference
of European Ministers Responsible for Sport (2004). See Council of Europe, 10th Conference of
EuropeanMinisters of Sports, Budapest (14-15.10.2004), MSL-10 (2004) 7, p. 4-5.
The International Anti-Doping Code is based on the doping control
procedure which includes test planning, collecting and handling specimens,
laboratory analysis, managing test results, hearings as well as appeals.
However, this has no effect in the case of forbidden substances or methods
which are by definition beyond the possibilities of laboratory analysis or are
hard to be detected by any analysis of this kind11 . As far as doping is
concerned, an athlete should comply with the legislation in force and the
respective IOC andWADA regulations.
2. ‘Study ofWords’
The sports legislator, in order to be specific on the prevention of
doping starts by defining the concept of doping and the conditions providing
its context12 , while he makes a distinction between the receiver and the
contributor as an intervening factor in the process of coaching and the sports
Doping is defined as the administration to an athlete or use by an
athlete of a forbidden substance, as well as the existence in the athlete’s body
of a forbidden substance or evidence for the use of such a substance.
The term use includes ingesting or inserting any forbidden substance in
an athlete’s organism, especially per os or via injection, as well as application
of any forbidden method by any means; administration is defined as giving to
or supplying the athlete with any kind of forbidden substance or applying on
him/her any illegitimate method, regardless of whether such method was
eventually used or not. Any substance as well as any biological or
biotechnological material or means capable of artificially altering the sporting
mood, capability or performance of an athlete or concealing such an
alteration, which included in the substances prohibited under the law in force
or the joint decision constitutes the means forbidden. Relevant substance is any
substance with a pharmacological action or chemical structure similar to that
of a forbidden substance; forbidden substances or methods used in order to
disguise, alter or spoil the integrity and validity of samples or detection of a
substance in a sample constitute manipulation agents (‘tampering’). Use of
blood, blood cells or blood products by an athlete in competition or during
training, whether in form of diminished blood volume or not and regardless
of prior harvesting of blood cells, as well as administration or use of other
cells or tissues constitutes biological doping.
11 James A.R. Nafziger (2005), "Circumstantial Evidence of Doping: Balco and beyond", in:
Sports law: Implementation and the Olympic Games (D. Panagiotopoulos, ed.), Ant. N. Sakkoulas:
Athens, and also Gr. ed. (2005), in Lex Sportiva.
12 Law 2725/1999 Article 128 and following, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 233.
Administration or use of substances and methods capable to alter the
integrity and validity of the sample, including catheterization, urine
substitution and/or urination suspension, are defined as pharmaceutical,
chemical, genetic or natural alteration (‘tampering’).
Racehorse doping consists in the administration of any prohibited
method or electrical excitation to a racehorse, capable of enhancing or
reducing its physical capabilities or inducing an artificial alteration in its
sporting ability and performance. Biological tissues or fluids collected during
the procedure laid down in the sports law and the regulating acts to its
implementation as well as the rules of the respective sports federation shall be
used for doping control of an athlete or racehorse and are defined as sample,
while the result of the sample analysis carried out at an authorized doping
control laboratory, which confirms the existence of a forbidden substance or
evidences use of such a substance is termed a positive result. Within the scope
of doping, several activities are also included aiming at administering or
using forbidden means without prior permission of the competent authority.
These activities are termed forbidden activities, e.g.:
a) trafficking, trading, shipping, importing, transportation,
distributing, mediating, selling, accepting, occupation, storing, supplying,
offering and sale of any forbidden means with or without exchange;
b) manufacturing, extracting, amending, preparing of forbidden means
as well as issuing prescriptions for those means without any real and/or
specific medical indication; and
c) financing or mediating for financing forbidden substances,
instigation to the use of such substances, or offering the means to obtain or
use such substances13.
Substances which may induce an artificial alteration to the sports
performance and harm the athletes’ health are explicitly enumerated in the
Act, and any substance added to the IOC list14 or the anti-doping Code is also
integrated in the Act. For a substance with stimulating effects in sports to be
characterized as forbidden a special decision made by the minister of health
and the minister of sports. This decision has to conform to the forbidden
methods lists issued by the IOC, the WADA and the European Anti-doping
Convention Committee15 .
According to this convention, doping in sports “is the administration
to the athletes or the use by the athletes of pharmaceutical substances or
13 Article 128 Β as added to the Article 53 of Act.3057/2002, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p.
233 - 234.
14 Such a list of prohibited substances is validated in Greece byMinisterial Decision.
15 Law 1787/1988 in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code II, 2009), p. 233, 235.
doping methods” 16 , meaning “those categories of substances or doping
methods prohibited by the respective sports organizations and included in
lists approved by the controlling committee”17.
Not all stimulating substances are included in the prohibited list, but
exclusively those characterized as stimulating in sports by a special minister
decision. The newer law on stimulant characterization (doping) also sets forth
– in contrast to the older one – what are the specific means of physical or
neurological stimulation in sports, thus making clearer the issue in question18.
B. Legal Scope of Doping
The doping problem -along with other negative phenomena in sport19-
has alarmed the Greek legislator. A systematic legal regulation of the doping
phenomenon was is for the first time in Greece attempted with the provisions
of Law 3057/2002 amending the relevant articles of Law 2725/1999. According
to this law, “Doping spoils the genuine outcomes and the efforts made by the
athletes, poses their health in danger –especially of minors –, is contrary to the
fundamentals of the Olympic Spirit, fair-play and medical ethics, and is forbidden”20.
In accordance with the provisions of this law, “doping” is “…the
administration to an athlete or the use by him of a prohibited method, as well as the
existence of such prohibited means in his/her body, or a proof of the use of such
method”; as for the terms “use”, “administration” and “prohibited means”, they
are also determined with precision21.
The term “prohibited means” includes every substance, biological or
biotechnological material, and every method that could either artificially alter
his/her sports condition, capacity or performance, or cover up such an
16 Article 2 § 1a,b, of Act 12371, Greek Republic Official Journal, 2/9.1.1996 which validated
the European anti-doping convention, according to the Article 28 § 1 of the Constitution, and
was signed in Strasburg, 16.11.1989.
17 Ibid, ‘under the terms and conditions of Article 11 § 1 p. B’ and under § 2 of same Article
‘...the indicatory list included in the Appendix of the present convention is applicable’.
18 Articles 128Β and 128 C, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 250 - 261
19 D. Panagiotopoulos (2001), Sports Law: Systematic Foundation- Implementation, Ant. N.
Sakkoulas: Athens, p. 391-448, ibid (2003) Sports Legal Order: Negative Phenomena in Sports and
Sports Ethics, Ant. N. Sakkoulas: Athens, p. 187-238, D. Panagiotopoulos (2004) Sports Law [Lex
Sportiva] in theWorld, Ant. N. Sakkoulas: Athens, p. 443-478.
20 Article 128A of Law 2725/1999 as amended by Law 3057/2002.
21 In accordance with the European Convention, "doping in Sport" means the administration
to sportsmen or sportswomen, or the use by them, of pharmacological classes of doping
agents or doping methods", article 2 par. 1a,b, Law 12371, Hellenic Official Journal 2/9.1.1996,
according to which the European Convention against doping was ratified, pursuant to article
28 par.1 of the Constitution, signed in Strasburg in 16.11.1989. “Classes” means, subject to
paragraph 2 below, the “classes of doping agents or doping methods, which are banned by
the relevant international sports organizations and appear in lists that have been approved by
the monitoring group under the terms of Article 11.1.b”, ibid “under the terms of Article
11.1.b, the reference list in the appendix to this Convention shall apply".
alteration; prohibited substances or methods figure in this law or in a
common decision22 of the Ministers of Health and Culture, issued at least once
a year23. Also, many other terms related to this phenomenon are defined,
while the procedure of doping control has been clearly specified24. To ensure
doping controls the National Anti-Doping Council 25 was established;
moreover, disciplinary offences26 and sanctions for doping-involved athletes
and officials 27 as well as special criminal provisions 28 were laid down,
establishing a three (3) to five (5) year imprisonment penalty and a fine of
twenty five thousand (25.000) to fifty thousand (50.000) euro, for the
providers of prohibited substances to the athletes29.
In case the athlete having received them is underage the law provides
for an incarceration of ten (10) up to twenty five (25) years30. For any person
who obstructs the competent authorities, while they carry out a doping
control, a maximum two years’ imprisonment is provided for, as long as this
obstruction is not sanctioned more severely by another provision. The person
who “after a legal doping control destructs, alters or makes impossible the use of
samples or falsifies, alters the registration of the control’s result” 31 faces a two (2) to
five (5) year imprisonment. In case that person had the duty to perform the
doping control or was related to it, he then faces an incarceration of five (5) up
to ten (10) years.
For the battle against doping special competent disciplinary bodies and
Medical entities32 have been created, while there is a special provision on the
medical testing of the athletes, their health’s protection33, and the controls that
prevent the distribution and the trafficking of banned substances34. This task
is also supported by EOF (National Organism for Pharmaceutical Products).
Moreover, horse doping is defined in details35 and sanctioned.
22 Law 3057/2002 Article 128 Β
23 Ibid, Law 3057/2002 Article 128 Γ, parag. 2, also Min. Dec. Num. 33081/Hellenic Official
Journal 1229 Β'/11-8-2004, Definition of banned substances and doping methods, according to
the meaning of the articles, 128Β και 128Γ of Law 2725/1999, after amendment of Law
3057/2002, in Sports Law Code (D. Panagiotopoulos, 2005).
24 Ibid Article 128 Δ
25 Law 2725/1999 Article 128 VI. in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 241
26 Id, Article 128 VII, p. 245.
27 Id, Article 128 VIII, p .246.
28 Id, Article 128 IX, p .250.
29 128Θ, par 1.
30 Ibid. par. 3
31 Id par. 6
32 Id Article 128 Ι, 128 ΙΑ.
33 Id 128 ΙΒ
34 Id 128 ΙΓ
35 Id 128 ΙΔ
Furthermore, in order to deter athletes from doping law 3708/200836
added to the penalties in case of doping not only the deprivation of any kind
of benefits and advantages offered to them, but also the return of any
financial benefit given to them.
According to the Greek law, every Sports Federation is explicitly
obliged to incorporate the International Olympic Committee’s rules and
decisions on doping in its regulation, which take immediate effect as part of
the domestic sports law (Article 20 par.1)37. If, however, the federations do not
proceed to such incorporation, the provisions elaborated by the I.O.C. on
doping are ipso jure incorporated and come into force in the domestic sports
law38. The athlete must therefore comply with the domestic legislation in force
and with the I.O.C. rules on doping39 in force.
1. Legal doping control
According to Sports Law doping control is carried out40 on athletes of
all sports acknowledged by sports federations primarily to guarantee the
genuineness of the sports effort as well as to secure the athletes’ health41.
Doping control on athletes is made whenever requested by officials
authorized to make such requests42. Racehorse owners and jockeys are bound
by a similar obligation43. The doping control procedure, during, before or after
the event, is applied on the basis of the equal treatment principle 44 by
expenditure of the respective sports authority45. It includes:
36 Article 18 par. 3.
37 Law 2725 /1999 Article 26 parag. 4, as it is in force after the Law 3057/2002. According to
Article 27 of this Law: "the Sports Federation has to embody in the regulation of Article 27 of
this Law, the regulations and the decisions of IOC on doping, with general or special
regulations, voted by the General Assembly", and the regulations of the Anti doping Code of
38 According to par. 11 of the Article 135 of L.2725/99.
39 Ibid, Rule 33 par. 6.
40 Doping control is performed exclusively by the National Anti – Doping Council. See Art.
128D par. 3 of Law 2725/1999 as amended by art. 17 par. 1 of Law 3708/2008, in ΑθλΚ (Sports
Code, 2009), p. 237.
41 Law 2725/1999, Article 128D par. 1, as added by Article 55 of the act Law 3057/2002 in
ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 236.
42 On detailed formalities of doping control as well as on any other necessary detail see
Ministerial Decision (YA) 19514 / 26-4/16.5.2005(Official Gazette Issue 648, Τ.Β), Sports Code. Ι
(2005). Formalities of doping control and any other aspect related to communication thereof
are subject to the restrictions of the provisions of Law 2742/1997 (Official Gazette Issue 50 Α)
on protection of persons against personal data treatment, see § 5 of Article 128 Ι as added by
the provisions of Article 61 of Law 3057/02.
43 Ibid, § 1, p. 2.
44 Id, § 6.
45 Ibid, § 1, Article 128 Ε which was added to the Article 56 of the act 3057/2002, During
championship and the national cup games, where teams belonging to football public
a) sample collection from athletes or horses and
b) sample analysis carried out at authorized laboratories46, based on
applied and accepted scientific rules for the detection of any forbidden
substance or use of forbidden methods47. Counter - proof is possible against
In Greece doping control is compulsory49 during Championship and National
Cup games, where football-teams of Sports Public Companies or of
Remunerated Athletes Departments participate. In national championships,
two football players are controlled from each competing team at one event of
each league, while during the playoffs control takes place at one game at least
of each match, at any stage, including finals; during the National Cup games,
controls take place at one game at least of each match, at any stage, including
finals 50 . In the higher amateur league games of sports which also have
professional leagues, as well as in sports promoting amateur sports, doping
control is compulsory for at least two athletes of each team51. In national
championships of individual sports, doping control is conducted on older
athletes, at least on one day of events52.
The sports law includes provisions on treating the use of doping
substances in appropriate Medical Units, where individuals who used such
companies enter, the doping control is compulsory ; ibid. section 2., Sports Code, p 291. During
a game, the National Anti-doping Committee orders the performance of doping control, §7,
op.cit.. Sports Code, p.292. Out-of-game doping control, especially during the preparation of
the athletes, can be performed with or without noticing them, by an order to the competent
sample collection and analysis service of the Athens Olympic Stadium, following a request
for a National Anti-doping Committee doping control to take place, made by the General
Secretary for Sport or by the Greek Olympic Committee or by the relevant Sports Federation,
§. 8, op.cit.
46 Id, § 5.
47 Id, Article 128D § 2. By joint decision of the Minister of Health and Social Care and the
Minister of Culture formalities of genetic doping control (i.e. doping by gene transfusion) are
laid down, ibid. § 7, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 236
48 Id, § 5, op.cit., D. Panagiotopoulos (2001) Sports Law..., pp 438 and 436; Cf. D.
Panagiotopoulos (2004), "International Sports Rules' Implementation – Decisions'
Executability…", op.cit. p. 306ff., in: Marquette ΕπιθΑθλΔικ («Epitheorisi Athlitikou Dikaiou»,
Review of Sports Law), p. 8ff., cf. Panagiotopoulos (2001), "Liability and Imposision of the
Disciplinary Sanction on a Jockey for Detection of a Chemical Substance in her Horse after a
Doping Control During an Intra-Club Championship", in: Διοικητική Δίκη (‘Dioikitiki Diki
Journal’), 13: 5, p. 1173ff. also in: Sport Science. Theory and Practice, vol. 15:3/4, pp. 38ff.
49 Id, § 2., Sports Code, p. 291.
50 Id, § 3, loc. cit.
51 Id, § 4, loc. cit
52 Id, § 5, Article 128 Ε, op.cit., Sports Law, p 292. Apart from the abovementioned minimum
of compulsory controls, according to the control schedule drawn by the National Anti-doping
Committee, the control can be extended to include more athletes, or even more sport events
than those previouslymentioned, §6, ibid.
substances may be examined and further monitored if necessary53. To protect
the athletes’ health, a physician who, during the examination of the athlete in
order to issue a health certificate54 , detects findings denoting the use of
forbidden substances, should act as follows:
a) refuse to validate the health certificate;
b) inform the National Anti-Doping Council on the examination
findings with a substantiated and confidential note within two days from
c) inform the athlete on the danger he/she is standing in and encourage
him/her to contact one of the aforementioned Medical Units55 .
Sport Federations should care for protecting the health of athletes
enrolled in sport clubs belonging to them. Federations should primarily take
under consideration the protection of the athletes’ health irrespective of age,
but especially the health of minors, on compiling the training schedules, the
timetable of games and meetings that they host or approve, as well as taking
measures aimed at limiting the intensiveness of sport programs, according to
the particularity of every sport56.
The prevention of merchandizing and trading forbidden substances is
a very important parameter to the Greek legislator57, while the capacity of the
factor is incompatible to practicing any trading or professional activity
concerning manufacturing, importing, advertising, trading and
merchandizing of substances forbidden to be used without a medical
prescription, as well as of nutritional supplements or vitamins for athletes.
Individuals that develop such commercial or professional activities, as well as
their spouses and first degree relatives, are not allowed to be members of the
Board of sport federations, or be employed as federal coaches or mediators for
53 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128IB par. 1, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 253
54 Law 2725/1999, Art. 33 par. 9, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 48
55 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128IB par. 1, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 253
56 Ibid, par. 3, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 254 For this reason, at the 2nd Sports Law
Convention of ΕΚΕΑΔ (Greek Centre for Sports Law Studies) (Athens, 2001), as well as at the
10th IASL International Convention, it was registered in the findings that there was a need for
creating a Sports and Coaching Code of Ethics parallel to the establishment of an independent
sports Authority,. D. Panagiotopoulos, (2003) Sports Legal Order..., op.cit., pp. 460-461 also in
International ΕπιθΑθλΔικ («Epitheorisi Athlitikou Dikaiou», Review of Sports Law)
Pandektis Vol. 5:3 (2004), pp. 393-399.
57 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128IC in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 253 The National Organization
for Medicines in cases of application for medicine circulation, or renewal of an older
permission, examines the compliance to the obligations stated in section 2 regarding
medicine and nutritional additive packing, op.cit., § 3.
58 Id, par. 6
2. Criminal – disciplinary and moral aspect of Doping
Sports Law treats the doping issue in a twofold way by defining it as a
criminal-disciplinary offence of moral nature.
For the administration of justice concerning the administration of
doping substances the problem is particularly focused to the following
questions: a) when a doping situation exists concerning a substance banned
by the regulatory sports system, and whether the aforementioned substance
was detected on the basis of internationally standard formalities of collection
and analysis; b) whether in such a case the proper authority may launch a
disciplinary procedure according to the proclamation rules, the articles of
association and the sports law, in order to impose a sanction, having also in
mind the relevant international rules; c) how to ensure the observance of the
rules in force during the disciplinary procedure before the Special Committee
of the respective Federation in order to protect the name of the athlete as well
as of those accountable for the sports act, the sports event and sports, which is
identical with the athletes, as well as to protect the sport and the sports
institution. This can be achieved by thorough investigation aiming at
eliminating any possibility for the athlete’s involvement as well as the faintest
doubt about his/her innocence; d) which is the applicable law in order for a
sanction to be imposed on an athlete; and e) providing any possibility for
counter-proof for the evidence against the involved person as a reverse of
proof burden, which is an obligation of the prosecutor in order for a sanction
to be imposed. All this happens for the sake of fair trial as well as sports rules
and laws, in order to establish safety and create a sense of justice in the world
of sports as well as in the athletes’ mind, so that sports life is secured by
observing the sporting principles and achieving smooth and orderly sports
3. Criminal Aspects of Doping
According to the common criminal law, doping is treated by the
special sports law as an unlawful and punishable action59. Use of stimulating
substances in sports, aiming at the artificial enhancement of sports
performance as an unlawful act is included in those punishable acts. These
acts termed misdemeanours and are punished by an imprisonment sentence60.
According to the Law only wilfully committed misdemeanours 61 are
punishable. An athlete making use of such substances commits this act by
intention in order to achieve the results forbidden by Law. As far as sports are
59 Penal Code Ch. 2, Article 14, cf. G. A. Mangakis, Criminal Law, Papazisis Publ., 1981, pp.
60 Ιbid, Article 18.
61 Ιb., Article 26.
concerned, such instances are artificial enhancement of sports performance as
well as the fact that the user goes into that act acknowledging the eventual
emergence of the aforementioned situation62. The same applies for the person
that administrated the doping substances.
On the doping issue the Sports Law primarily takes into account the
provisions of the special criminal law, which governs the protection of human
life and health; in other words, doping substances are considered to be
substances damaging the athletes’ life and health, and the law is responsible
for protecting both life and health.
Honesty and fair-play is a basic rule in an athlete’s everyday practice,
as was "aidōs" (= decorum), the sense for justice in the Classic Greek Agōnistikē,
constituting the notion of “kalos kagathos” (= good and honest). An athlete, as a
public person, has to be a role model in public and international life. Any
deviation or exaggeration, as well as acts such as doping, violence, bribery,
attempt to win at any cost, may pose questions on sportsmanship and the
possibility for entry to the sports action.
The Law concerned with doping is focused on both prevention and
suppression and has a disciplinary and criminal character concerning both
athletes and officials treating both with equal severity.
4. Criminal law provisions
For the person who dopes an athlete with natural or chemical
substances or with biological or biotechnological material, or applies to the
athlete a forbidden method63 in order to improve his/her sporting mood,
capability and performance during sport events or in view of coming events64,
an imprisonment penalty of at least three (3) to five (5) year imprisonment
penalty and a fine of twenty five thousand (25.000) to fifty thousand (50.000)
euro if the act is not punished more severely according to another provision65.
In case the athlete having received them is underage the law provides for an
incarceration of ten (10) up to twenty five (25) years66.
62 Ιd, Article 27 ; cf. G. A. Mangakis, op.cit., pp. 305-312.
63 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128Θ (IX), in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 250 The same applies for
anyone manufacturing, extracting, amending, preparing, storing, transporting, importing,
exporting, shipping, trading, purchasing, occupying, offering, or financing the provision of
substances and method.
64 Imposition of solely the pecuniary sanction by admission of extenuating circumstances is
precluded, while ban of exercising a profession related to sports is imposed to the person
convicted for a period equal to the punishment imposed which restricts freedom.
65 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128Θ (IX) par. 1, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 250
66 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128Θ (IX) par. 2, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 250
For the athlete67 an imprisonment sentence of 2 years, if the act is not
punished more severely according to another provision, is also provided for,
while persons hampering legal authorities from doping control procedures or
destroying, spoiling or rendering useless the samples following a legal doping
control, or forging, tampering or altering the control results, are punished
with an imprisonment sentence of up to one year, unless the action is
punished more severely under another provision.
Measures of prevention and suppression of doping aiming at
artificially enhancing performance are also provided for with respect to
racehorses. Anyone who applies to the horse’s electrical excitation or any
method forbidden by the horseracing rules of the Jockey Club of Greece68
during horse races in order to enhance or bend their physical capabilities or
artificially altering their natural capabilities (doping) to achieve a better or
worse performance is punished with imprisonment of at least 2 years and a
The same applies to any person possessing such substances in order to
administer them to racehorses 70 . In such a case mere possession of the
substance is not enough, but the possessor should be presumed as well to
have the intention of administering the substance. With an imprisonment
sentence of up to one year are punished persons refusing collection of
samples or obstruct in any way the doping control or project or provide false
control data following invitation by the appropriate authority71.
During horse-racing or other equestrian sports, the jockey of a horse
found by the doping control to be under the influence of a forbidden
substance included in the code or the regulations, according to the sports law
is punished with imprisonment of up to two years, unless this action is
punished more severely by another law72 . Prosecution for the criminal
offence of the abovementioned doping cases is made ex officio.
From the above mentioned it follows that the objective of the
prohibition of doping substances is to ensure the genuineness of the race
outcome. Altering the outcome is possible only if the substance administered
may enhance or bend physical capabilities or induce an artificial alteration of
the horse’s sporting ability. In particular, administration of a substance
should be characterized by the specific intention to alter the race outcomes,
67 If the act is not punished more severely according to another provision, § 2, op.cit., Sports
Code p. 304
68 Approved by decision of the Minister of Culture or by the regulations of the Federation
Equestre Internationale (FEI), see section. 1 of the Article 128 ΙΔ added to the Article 65 of the
act 3057/2002, Sports Code., p 310.
69 Ibid §.1, op.cit.
70 Id §2. op.cit.
71 Id §4. op.cit.
72 Id., §3.
while culpability should also be presumed. In this sense, prohibiting doping
and imposing sanctions for the race outcome to be genuine, the horse’s health
is also protected. The outcome genuineness in general is within the scope of
the legal provisions on doping. Laboratory doping control at specialized
laboratories of the country or abroad can ensure the genuineness of the sport
outcome73. Racehorse doping exists only if a pharmacological substance is
administered in order to enhance or reduce the sporting capability of a horse;
solid evidence is required, which can be obtained by doping control
performed according to the IOC Medical Code rules at an authorized
laboratory as stated above. Sample collection and testing are performed
according to the IOC Medical Code rules as stated above74.
For the Sports Law, the penal part of doping –as far as athlete users are
concerned- remains to be fatherly investigated. There is the question of how
longer it could still remain as a criminal offence for athletes.
5. Disciplinary Aspects of doping
Criminal sanction of doping, as already analyzed since 1990 as a
problem of the sports law, is ineffective. And this is the case because, as
nowadays confirmed by research, this problem can be effectively addressed
by imposing a sanction of long-term ban from the games75. In other words, as
we have already argued above, doping constitutes or should constitute for the
athlete a purely unlawful act within the range of sports activity, rather than a
criminal offence, since the use of doping substances aims at maximizing the
athlete’s performance and winning at any cost, i.e. not via the normal way of
training. Hence enforcement of the law provided for with respect to sports
activity and imposition of heavy sanctions such as long ban from games for
the proven users and their providers and proportional ban from sporting
activities76 can shed light to the solution of the problem.
73 See e.g. Article 1 § 14. p. 2 of the EOI (Greek Olympic Committee) General Regulation:
‘Finally, sports legislation and EOI articles of association supersede any other regulation’.
74 According to the regulation of the Equestrian Federation, which was amended but not fully
adapted; According to Article 8 § 8.6 of the regulation, «The Judging Committee has the right to
choose race gorses and jockeys for doping control, in conformity with, the international veterinarian
75 Kh. W. Souri (1998), «The behaviour of the punished high competition athlete of a sports
team», doctoral dissertation: Univ. of Athens: Athens, pp. 55-58. Βλ. IASL BULLETIN, II, 1999,
as well as Findings of the 1st Conference on Sports Law, Sports Law in 21th Century,
Professional Sports Activity, in: Nomiko Vima Journal, Vol. 48, p.1084-1088.
76 D. Panagiotopoulos (1990), Sports Law Theory, Ant. Sakkoulas Publ.: Athens, p. 222.
i. Disciplinary Offences of Doping Provisions
As disciplinary offences77 of doping provisions based on the positive
outcome and the rules of the sports law and the regulatory acts issued in
enforcement thereof78 are defined the following:
a) administration to or use by an athlete of a forbidden means during
sports games or prior to them79;
b) encouragement, suggestion, instigation, approval or absence of
sanction for the use of the substance, or any kind of facilitation for the use or
administration of any forbidden means; and
c) performance of forbidden activities especially in sports facilities,
training facilities as well as in sports places and gymnasia80.
The following constitute also doping offences: refusing or avoiding
doping control by an athlete81, oral or written admission of a doping offence
as well as assistance in avoiding doping control. Use of a forbidden substance
for medical purposes does not constitute a doping violation in case that the
specific requirements laid down in the sports law are met82 and provided that
the athlete will prove his/her allegations about the forbidden substance’s
being used for therapeutic reasons 83 or about presence of extraordinary
ii. Disciplinary Sanctions
A doping violation during a sports meeting, entails for the athlete of an
individual sport revocation of his/her participation and deprivation of prizes
and medals, regardless of any other sanctions provided for84, with additional
77 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128Z (XI), in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 246.
78 Ibid, par 3.
79 The disciplinary offence is performed with the action of administration or use of a
forbidden means, regardless of the fact whether the action was completed, or remained as an
attempt, or the pursued result occurred or not, ibid § 4, op.cit.
80 Private sport schools of Article 32, Act 2725/99, Sports Code, pp. 85-86, cf. D.
Panagiotopoulos (2001) Sports Code, A. N. Sakkoulas, Athens, p. 480.
81 The athletes’ refusal to submit to doping control and more specifically to urine sample
collection constitutes an anti-athletic act, punishable by suspension of sports capacity for six
(6) months, cf. ΕΦΙ (Sports Fan Capacity Committee) 12/22.9.1989. It has been accepted that
the urine collection procedure should be in concordance to the applied rules of the
International Federation. In the case of an athlete who appealed to the ΑΣΕΑΔ (High Council
for Sports Disputes Resolution), the decision was that urine collection preconditions are
regulated by the international practice, ΑΣΕΑΔ 180/1989
82 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128Z (XI) par. 5, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 245
83 Ruling of ΑΣΕΑΔ (High Council for Sports Disputes Resolution) 176/91 (Section Β) which
annulled an ΕΚΟΦ (Greek Swimming Federation of Fans) decision, on the grounds that the
petitioner used a prohibited medicine bona fide, and not to enhance his performance
(heptaminole, which was removed from the IOC List).
84 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128Η (XΙI), in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 246.
application of the respective rules of the sports federation of the individual or
Sanctions imposed in cases of doping violations are relevant to the
status of the doer and the kind of the forbidden substances86.
Such sanctions include but are not limited to the following:
a) written rebuke;
b) temporary ban of entry in any kind of sports meetings and events of
c) ban for life in any kind of sports meetings and events of every sort;
d) deprivation of any kind of benefits granted by the State and sports
federations as well as any tax exemption, as well as discontinuance of any
e) reversion of any financial benefits granted from the day of the
f) fines of up to 100,000 Euros in the case of professional athletes;
g) derogation or ban from board, or committee membership of any
sports authority or athlete union.
The following may be imposed among others to an official:
a) temporary ban of participation in planning and hosting sports
meetings and events as well as of performing duties during the holding of
b) ban for life from planning and hosting sports meetings and events;
c) derogation from office in sports and prohibition of representing any
d) fine of up to 200,000 Euros for individuals professionally connected
e) indictment to the Sportsmanship Committee.
After a positive doping control, if the person that administered or
instigated the administration of forbidden substances is irrevocably
convicted, according to the explicit provision of the law is suspended his/her
sports capacity after a ruling of the appropriate authority. In case of a doping
control, no written summons is required, and a telephone call is enough since
the control may be held without prior notice87 .
85 Verdict of the sports court No 289/16-3-1988: a) the football-player was punished for using
prohibited substances with suspension for two years and revocation of his sport and
professional certificate, b) the football club Company was punished with subtraction of points
earned at the specific game, and subtraction of two more points from the 1st League
Championship, cf. also. 301/22.3.88 Decision of 2nd degree / instance Three-Member
Committee, which acquitted the Club, but the punishment for the football-player was kept.
86 Ibid, § 3, op.cit.it, Sports Law, pp. 301-303.
87 Pleading gastroenteritis as a reason for not showing up, does not consist a vis major, see
ΑΣΕΑΔ (High Council for Sports Disputes Resolution) 130/2004 in spite of a refusal of
appearance for control, as well as ΑΣΕΑΔ 36/2003.
For the artificial change in the physical abilities of the racehorses, apart
from the criminal prosecution, this offence is also a severe disciplinary
offence. Disciplinary sanctions may be imposed by the Jockey Club of Greece
regardless of any other sanctions and sanctions. In other words, someone
could be sentenced to prison and also have disciplinary sanctions imposed on
Such sanctions provided for by law are:
a) in the case of horse breeders involved in doping violations, banning
of all the horses from races for at least 6 months, even if one or more of the
horses have been passed to a third person88. This measure is against the
specific person’s ownership of the horses, and even if the ownership has been
passed to another person, that third person will not be able to use the horses
in races before the specific time period, which consists the disciplinary
sanction for the horses;
b) in the case of jockeys or coaches, their jockey or coach licence is
suspended for at least one (1) year89.
iii. Imposition of Disciplinary Sanctions
Doping in sports is obviously an action which belongs to the sports
unlawful acts, constitutes an anti-athletic behaviour which is directly contrary
to sportsmanship, as defined by international sports rules and thus insulting
to the ethics and ideals of the athletic world. It is performed by the athleteuser
or the official or coach-provider in order to artificially change sports
performance, which is explicitly forbidden by law. In other words, by doping
is pursued maximized performance of the athlete or the racehorse, not via the
normal way of training and developing the physical capabilities of the athlete
or the horse, and fraudulently winning the game at any cost and.
Apart from the penal sanction, the sports law also makes provisions for
the disciplinary sanction of the doping issue concerning amateur athletes,
amateur and professional football players and officials.
Clearly, doping is not about any drug, but only about the
administration of substances that aim at artificially change the normal
sporting ability, and the physical capabilities and alter the game outcomes. In
other words, the athlete, or another official, turns to using or providing
doping substances in order to fulfil one of the above-mentioned objectives.
The athlete is mainly interested in victory and performance and in this case
the culpable behaviour occurs wilfully and in full awareness of the fact that,
although such a practice is forbidden, he/she still makes use of methods and
techniques aiming at the enhancement of their sporting ability and
88 Law 2725/1999, Art. 128ID, in ΑθλΚ (Sports Code, 2009), p. 256.
89 Ιd, Article 11.
stimulation of their physical power so that they will fraudulently obtain
victory, thus sophisticating the game outcome. The offender’s culpability
should exist. Prohibiting the dispute of the doping sample result is
unconstitutional, as prohibiting any counter-proof90.
90 This happens because the right to proof, hence also the right to counter-proof, is included in
the safeguarded right to judicial protection and fair trial under Article 20 of 75/86 Greek
Constitution, Article 6 of International Convention on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms and
the 7th Protocol of the Convention on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, ratified by Law Ν