Doping, European Law and the Implications of Meca-Medina



Callery C & McArdle D (2011) Doping, European Law and the Implications of Meca-Medina. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 3 (2), pp. 163-175.

The ruling of the European Court of Justice in the anti-doping case of Meca Medina v. The Commission has important implications for athletes, domestic governing bodies, international federations and supra-national actors such as WADA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Meca-Medina has been criticised as an unwelcome interference by the courts in the legitimate activities of sporting organisations, but after Bosman it was fanciful to argue that those organisations should be ‘above the law’ and the courts should have no jurisdiction over their activities. That said, there is a stark difference between the courts having jurisdiction over sports’ decisions and being willing to overturn them - the courts have been, and remain, willing to defer to the expertise of sporting organisations. However, the ECJ’s ruling in MOTOE confirms that the courts will intervene in appropriate circumstances. In order to avoid sanction on competition law grounds sports organisations must thus be able to justify their provisions on (for example) what is an unacceptable level of nandrolone, show that athletes’ fundamental rights such as the right to a fair hearing have been respected, and ensure that any sanctions imposed upon athletes who fall foul of doping regulations are proportionate to the offence committed.

European Union; competition law; doping; dominant position; abuse; sport; Sports Law and legislation European Union countries; Doping in sports; Athletes Drug use

International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics: Volume 3, Issue 2

Publication date31/07/2011
Publication date online12/07/2011
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)

People (1)


Dr David McArdle

Dr David McArdle

Senior Lecturer, Law