Since 2001 the GAA have been drug testing players as part of an agreement with Sport Ireland and their policy to cooperate with the international anti-doping campaign administered by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA). The GAA believes that doping is contrary to the spirit of sport and every member has a duty to ensure that Gaelic Games are free of doping.
There are many facets to Anti-Doping and it is a complex issue that is constantly evolving. All GAA members are subject to the Anti-Doping Rules as adopted by Sport Ireland (Rule 1.16 GAA Official Guide 2019), therefore the GAA urges all members to read and understand the Anti-Doping Rules and to understand their responsibilities under the rules. The consequences of not adhering to Anti-Doping Rules can be severe for both players and their support personnel such as coaches and parents.
Irish Anti-Doping Rules
The Medical, Scientific & Welfare Committee of the GAA in conjunction with Central Council have adapted the Irish Anti-Doping Rules as the Anti-Doping Rules of the GAA.
GAA Official Guide
Rule 1.16 Official Guide Part 1 states:
‘The Association forbids the use of prohibited substances or methods, a practice generally known as doping in sport. The Rules of the Association regarding doping are the Irish Anti-Doping Rules as adopted by Sport Ireland and as amended from time to time (“the ADR”). The latest version can be downloaded from http:// sportireland.ie/anti-doping. The Rules contained in the said ADR shall have effect and be construed as Rules of the Association'
While any player may be selected for testing, there is a particular focus on testing with regard to Inter-County players. Indeed it is a condition of eligibility for the Government Eligible Expense Scheme and all county team support personnel (e.g. managers, coaches, medical personnel, nutritionists, psychologists, officials) have a responsibility to ensure that they are aware of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules and that there is an atmosphere supporting a drug free sport within each County.
Sports Foods and Supplements
Sports supplements are commonly used by athletes in the hope of maximising the benefits of participating in sport. Understandably sports people can be confused about the issues around sports supplements. It is important to remember that there are risks associated with supplement use.
There are no guarantees that any dietary supplements are safe. Before taking any dietary supplements please assess the following
- The Need: seek nutrition advice from a professional sports dietician
- The Risk: If you choose to take a supplement you should assess the associated risks and make an informed decision. Please see risk minimisation guidelines below
- The Consequences: consuming a contaminated product may may result in a 4 year ban from sport
Managing the Risks of Supplements
- You MUST undertake thorough internet research of any supplement products before it is consumed.
- This search should include the name of the product and the ingredients/substances listed.
- Information revealed as a result should be further investigated and we advise athletes to keep evidence of their research.
- Screen shots should be taken and the results saved in a folder. All saved information should be backed up.
- Informed sport is a risk minimisation tool that can be used to access supplements that have been batch tested.
As part of its commitment to educating players, medics and team support personnel, the Medical, Scientific and Welfare Committee has developed a range of educational resources to help inform players, coaches and relevant backroom team members on all issues surrounding Anti-Doping.
GAA Anti-Doping Booklet
The GAA Anti-Doping Booklet is a comprehensive document that details of aspects of Anti-doping. It is a very digestible document that all stakeholders, especially players, should become familiar with. The document covers:
- Anti-Doping Rules, Violations and Sanctions
- Prohibited Substances, Medication Checks, Supplement and Sports Nutrition advice
- Doping Control Procedures and information for Team Managements
- Additional Resources for further information
GAA Anti-Doping Information Sheets
The GAA have also put together a number of information sheets on key Anti-Doping topics such as:
- Anti-Doping Information Sheet for Inter-County Players
- Sports Supplements Information Sheet
- GAA Anti-Doping Poster
GAA Learning Website
In addition to the above resources the GAA also has a website that is dedicated specifically to Education & Learning. For further information and resources on Anti-Doping please visit the GAA Anti-Doping page
Anti-Doping e-Learning Programmes
A specific GAA Anti-Doping e-Learning course has been in place for the past number of years and this aims to educate Senior Inter-County players in key areas such as anti-doping rules and violations, supplement usage, medications, therapeutic use exemptions and testing procedures.
- The Senior Inter-County Players Anti-Doping course is available here
Sport Ireland also have an online Anti-Doping Course which is available to players, coaches, medical personnel and administrators from all levels. The GAA would encourage all relevant stakeholders to complete this course.
- The Sport Ireland Anti-Doping course is available here
Anti-Doping Education Seminars
In addition, a network of Sport Ireland trained, GAA Anti-Doping Tutors are available to present on request to Inter-County Panels, Development Squads, Clubs, Higher Education and Post Primary teams. Requests can be made via e-mail to email@example.com
Senior Inter-County players must attend and Anti-Doping Eduction Seminar or complete the Anti-Doping eLearning course each year in order to qualify for the Government Eligible Expenses Scheme.
Resources - Links and Downloads
- Irish Anti-Doping Rules
- WADA Anti-Doping Code
- Sport Ireland TUE Policy
- Sample Collection Procedures
- Supplements and Sports Foods Policy
- GAA Information Sheet on Sports Supplements
- WADA 2019 Prohibited List
- GAA Anti-Doping Booklet
- GAA Anti-Doping E-learning Course 2019
- GAA Learning and Development Portal
- Sport Ireland Website
- Medication Checker App
For any queries regarding anti-doping in the GAA please contact the Player, Club and Games Administration Department - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Unit can also be contacted directly at:
Anti Doping Unit
Sport Ireland Campus