The increasing profile and pressures of professional sport and the potential financial rewards available are among the core factors leading to doping in sport. Professionals and even amateurs or recreational athletes may be tempted or pressured into doping and, as such, the Commission, together with Member States, is looking for a way to coordinate the various different actions that are being taken to combat the problem of doping.
As well as being linked to serious health issues amongst individual sports professionals, doping negatively affects the public perception of sport and demotivates participants, seriously undermining the principles of open and fair competition in the process.
Traditionally, anti-doping has been concerned essentially with testing and sanctions. Important though they are, there is a growing realisation in the EU that such rules and programmes need to be backed by wider efforts to prevent a pro-doping culture.
Education and prevention need to target wider audiences and not just top-level competitive athletes. Deterrence is not the only means by which doping can or should be avoided in the future.
The Commission maintains regular contact with Member States, the Council of Europe, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The European Council has been extensively involved in doping-related discussions at EU level. Under the Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014, the Council has set up an EU Expert Group on Anti-Doping that submitted the first EU revisions to the World Anti-Doping Code in 2012.
As of 2015, the Commission will work with Member States to ensure that all rules and procedures linked to the new World Anti-Doping Code comply with EU law and the EU's vision of an athlete-friendly anti-doping system.