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Achieving compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code: learning from the implementation of three selected international agreements

posted on 25.10.2018, 09:19 authored by Stacie J. Gray
The scale of the compliance problem that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) faces was recently highlighted by the exposure of state-sponsored doping in Russia and the series of doping scandals within athletics. This study aims to analyse the problems of achieving compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. Specifically, the study explores the techniques for, and problems of, achieving compliance in three similar international agreements: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime. The Conventions were analysed to identify the range of strategies used to achieve (or at least enhance) the level of compliance with the international conventions, to evaluate their effectiveness as a way of generating ideas for improving compliance with the WADA Code and to assess the comparative success of the WADA. To evaluate compliance, three inter-related bodies of theory were used: regime theory, implementation theory and Mitchell and Chayes (1995) compliance system. Qualitative document analysis was used to analyse documents published by relevant organisations. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with senior staff members responsible for monitoring compliance at the international and UK domestic level. The results identified a range of strategies used to achieve compliance, including a global annual index of compliance, independent monitoring institutions, whistleblowing and domestic lobbying. It is concluded that the identified strategies have had modest and variable success in improving compliance, yet have the potential to address the problems of achieving compliance with the WADA Code.


Loughborough University (studentship).



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Stacie Gray

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.