In line with the IOC movement and since 2004 with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), FIBA has been actively engaged in the fight against doping in basketball. Since 1989, doping controls are regularly and increasingly performed at FIBA events.

In 2009, FIBA began implementing its own Out-of-Competition testing programme.

As more and more countries are ratifying the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport, FIBA’s cooperation with its own National Federations and the National Anti-Doping Organizations in these matters has been constantly reinforced.

The Medical Corner on FIBA’s website ( is a very helpful tool for communication and cooperation with all stakeholders, giving access to detailed and up-to-date information on FIBA anti-doping activities.

While there is generally a good awareness of the wrongs of doping, there is often a knowledge gap in terms of the dangers faced by athletes and the importance of cultivating a healthy lifestyle. FIBA has included a series of short videos on both its YouTube page and its website (; players of all ages and all levels will benefit from the insights provided there by some of basketball’s biggest stars.

Coaches have a responsibility to promote to their athletes the importance of participating in sport, without resorting to doping or banned substances. They must also make sure that their athletes understand that there is a process whereby the use of an otherwise banned substance can be approved on medical advice (a Therapeutic Use Exemption). Athletes can get more information on the FIBA website and should discuss any concerns with their medical practitioner.

“The best part of being an athlete is rising to the challenge, doing your best under the circumstances, and enjoying the process. The celebration of the human spirit, body and mind, is what we call the ‘Spirit of Sport’, and is characterized by health, fair play, honesty , respect for self and others, courage and dedication. Doping in sport is the complete antithesis of the Spirit of Sport. Doping destroys all that is good and noble about sport. It jeopardizes the health and well-being of athletes and erodes public con dence. In addition to risking serious health consequences, athletes who test positive for doping, ruin their good name and reputation and may lose their employment.” 1

How does the WADA Anti-Doping system work?

The World Anti-Doping Agency maintains a List of Prohibited Substances and Methods and a substance may be placed on it if it meets two out of these three criteria:

  • it is performance-enhancing;
  • it poses a danger to athletes’ health;
  • its use is against the spirit of sport.

A two year ban from competition is imposed on an athlete who is found to have violated the Anti-Doping Code.

A rule of “strict liability” applies so that a violation occurs if a banned substance is found in a specimen (e.g. blood, urine) given by an athlete.

Whether or not the athlete intentionally or unintentionally used the substance is irrelevant.

Coaches should not give advice to players about what medications or supplements they can use or cannot use.

Coaches should ensure that players are aware of their responsibility under the Anti-Doping Code and that players know where they can seek advice if they need it.

Elizabeth Hunter, Anti-Doping: It’s a Global Campaign, FIBA Assist