UKAD announces results of public consultation on publication of charges and provisional suspensions

UKAD to maintain current policy of not publishing provisional suspensions or charges ahead of hearings unless there are "exceptional circumstances”

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has published today the results of a public consultation that was held last year, which asked whether it should change its existing policy on the public disclosure of provisional suspensions and/or charges relating to Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs).

UKAD took the decision to hold the consultation as there are some sports, such as athletics and tennis, that do publish provisional suspensions and charges before a hearing takes place, while others do not.

The consultation was completed over 200 times by stakeholders across sport, including by 135 athletes. It asked if UKAD should publicly disclose the fact that an athlete or other person has been provisionally suspended and/or charged with an ADRV at the time of the suspension or charge or, as is the case now, only do so when an ADRV is confirmed (by a decision of an independent hearing panel or a decision issued by UKAD that has been agreed to by the person charged). 

The results of the consultation and additional discussion with interested parties were considered by the UKAD Board at its February meeting. The board noted that a majority of respondents supported maintaining the current policy. However, it was recognised that some respondents expressed a view that there may be rare occasions when it would be appropriate for UKAD to disclose provisional suspensions or charges.  

Based on the evidence before it, the UKAD Board decided that UKAD will not routinely publicly disclose the fact that an athlete has been charged or provisionally suspended before the charge has been resolved. However, it has decided that there might be limited and rare examples where it is appropriate to do so and therefore the revised policy provides UKAD with the ability to publicly disclose a provisional suspension and charge, but only in exceptional circumstances.

Speaking on the announcement, UKAD Chair Trevor Pearce said, “We are very grateful to all those who took the time to engage in our consultation.

“It is right to periodically examine whether UKAD’s policies are still fit and proper today to protect sport.

“Further emphasis was given to the consultation because some UK athletes were already bound by rules which allowed the disclosure of notices of charge or suspensions, for example in athletics. We had also recognised that frequent requests to disclose the names of athletes who have been provisionally suspended meant it was right to consider the transparency of our approach.

“We are particularly impressed by the level of athlete engagement in the consultation. They were keen to emphasise that the protection of athlete or athlete support personnel welfare is paramount, and there was concern that the proposed change would put this at risk.

It was noted though that athletes, support personnel and sports were also committed to the notion of doping free sport.

This policy change has been subject of further consultation with UKAD’s Athlete Commission.”

The full policy and a summary of the responses to the consultation are available below.

This policy will not affect cases where athletes are subject to charges brought by their International Federation in accordance with its rules and policies, which may provide for the publication of charges and provisional suspensions in all cases.