The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published the 2023 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, which enters into force on 1 January 2023.
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The List is one of the eight International Standards that are mandatory for all signatories of the World Anti-Doping Code. It designates what substances and methods are prohibited both in- and out-of-competition, and which substances are banned in particular sports.
WADA has also published:
• the 2023 Summary of Major Modifications and Explanatory Notes as compared to the 2022 List;
• the 2023 Monitoring Programme, which includes substances that are not on the List, but that WADA wishes to monitor in order to detect potential patterns of misuse in sport.
Major modifications for 2023
All major modifications in the 2023 List are outlined in the 2023 Summary of Major Modifications and Explanatory Notes.
The List is released before it takes effect so that players, player support personnel and other stakeholders can acquaint themselves with any modifications.
Ultimately, players are responsible for prohibited substances found in their body, as well as prohibited methods found to have been used.
Player support personnel (e.g. coaches, team doctors, etc.) are also liable for anti-doping rule violations if it is determined that they are complicit.
Consequently, if there is any doubt as to the status of a substance or method, it is important that players and their support personnel contact their respective National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) or UEFA’s anti-doping unit for advice.
Major modification concerning tramadol for 2024
It should also be noted that the narcotic tramadol will be prohibited in competition as from 1 January 2024.
WADA’s decision to delay implementation to 2024 is to provide an additional year for broad communication and education of players, their entourage and medical personnel, to enable a better understanding of the practical implementation of tramadol’s prohibition in competition. It will also give time to the scientific community to adjust the exact procedural details so that fairness can be ensured for the players.
Tramadol has been on WADA’s monitoring programme, and data gathered through that programme has indicated significant use in sports. Tramadol abuse, with its risks of physical dependence, opiate addiction and overdoses in the general population, is of concern, and has led to it being a controlled drug in many countries.
Research studies funded by WADA, as referenced in the Explanatory Notes, have also confirmed the potential for tramadol to enhance sports performance.
Therapeutic Use Exemption Programme
Players who have a legitimate medical reason for using a prohibited substance or method that is on the List can apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). The TUE Programme is a rigorous and necessary part of elite sport which has gained overwhelming acceptance by athletes, physicians and anti-doping stakeholders.
The criteria for granting a TUE are outlined in the WADA International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE) and, for further information, players and team doctors can refer to this UEFA Guide on the Prohibited List and TUEs.