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Permitting a certain level of doping in sports as an alternative strategy for tackling doping: a critique

Chinemelum Nelson Arinze-Umobi
Obinna Mbanugo


Doping which means introducing certain substances into the body to enhance the performance of a person in sports is a prohibited practice in the sporting world today. However, some critics have proposed an alternative system whereby a certain level of doping would be permitted among athletes as a way of addressing what they see as the contradictions and inefficiencies of the current total ban on doping. Against this backdrop, this paper assesses the arguments of this school of thought, insisting that the alternative they are putting forward would not only very likely fail to address the perceived shortcomings of the existing prohibitionist regime, but might even introduce more problems for sports and society at large. The paper therefore contends that the current system should be retained in the interest of sports and the society served by sports, but that policymakers and implementers such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) should also pay attention to certain arguments of those who oppose total prohibition as a way of gaining more insight towards addressing some of the shortcomings of the present system.

Keywords: Doping, Anti-Doping, Prohibitionist, Sports