Data protection issues regarding the Irish anti-doping rules

Published 11 October 2009

The recently adopted Irish Anti-Doping Rules, which implement the World Anti-Doping Agency’s new World Anti-Doping Code, may be in breach of the Irish Data Protection Acts 1988 & 2003.

The Irish Sports Council (the “ISC”) has adopted a new version of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules (the “Rules”) which came into effect on 1 January 2009. As a condition of receiving financial and/or other assistance from the Government of Ireland and/or the ISC, sports governing bodies in Ireland must abide by the Rules. As such, the Rules will apply to most if not all Irish sport governing bodies and, by extension, high level participants in sports governed by them. 

The Rules implement WADA’s new World Anti-Doping Code (the “Code”). In addition, they adopt and incorporate WADA’s International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information (the “Standard”) and provide that the ISC will process personal data in accordance with the Standard. The Standard is intended to be a minimum common set of rules to which Anti-Doping Organisations must conform when processing personal data pursuant to the Code. It is expressly acknowledged that in some cases Anti-Doping Organisations “may be required by applicable laws to apply rules or standards that exceed those set forth in the Standard”. 

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