Doping in Switzerland


In Switzerland the first 'Instructions on Combatting Doping' were issued in 1963 – 1967. At the same time a doping laboratory was set up at the Federal Office of Sport's research laboratory in Magglingen.

Swiss athletes accused of doping

When Sandra Gasser, a Swiss athlete, was accused of doping at the 1987 World Championships in Rome and banned for two years by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the national organisation then known as the 'Schweizerische Landesverband für Sport' (SLS) set up an interdisciplinary project group to draw up a modern and practice-oriented doping statute. As a result, in 1990 a newly created expert commission under the SLS was given the task of combatting doping.

At the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona doping allegations were made against Switzerland in revelations by the German news magazine Spiegel. In response to this media offensive, an independent Doping Investigation Commission was set up in September 1992 by the informal  "Sport Switzerland" working group. Its objective was to investigate and assess (see report in German) the doping allegations directed against Switzerland - especially against shot-putter Werner Günthör and his sporting entourage.

Council of Europe Convention, World Anti-Doping Agency and UNESCO Convention

In 1993 Switzerland signed the Council of Europe Anti-Doping Convention. This gave the state responsibility for the fight against doping, which previously had been organised on a purely private level. The work was divided into three areas: doping controls were the responsibility of the sports organisations, and the state took on responsibility for prevention, information and applied research.

The establishment in 1999 of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as a foundation under Swiss law was a major step in the global harmonisation of the fight against doping. A code and international standards were developed, which the National Olympic Committee and national anti-doping agencies were obliged to implement. At the same time, UNESCO developed a Convention against Doping, and this was adopted by Switzerland in 2008.

Swiss Olympic Doping Statute

On 1 January 2000 the first Swiss Olympic Doping Statute entered into force (at which time Swiss Olympic was still SOV) and in 2002 Swiss Olympic set up a centralised Disciplinary Chamber for Doping Cases (DC), which is responsible for giving initial rulings on doping violations in all sports. A complete revision of the Doping Statute was approved on 15 November 2008 by the sports parliament. The Statute implements the World Anti-Doping Code in Switzerland. 1 July 2008 saw the establishment of the Antidoping Switzerland foundation. This new independent national competence centre is the successor organisation to the merged anti-doping department at the Federal Office of Sport and Swiss Olympic's Committee for the Fight against Doping.

Federal Act on the Promotion of Sport and Exercise

In 2002 articles on combatting doping were added to the Federal Act on the Promotion of Gymnastics and Sport. The Federal Act on the Promotion of Sport and Exercise plus its ordinance were fully revised with effect from 1 October 2012, creating the legal basis for the Confederation to delegate powers and tasks on fighting doping to Antidoping Switzerland. At the same time sanctions against persons involved in doping were made more severe and the exchange of data and information between the authorities (customs, Swissmedic and public prosecutors) and Antidoping Switzerland was improved. Under the new law, athletes who engage in doping are still sanctioned by the sports associations rather than by the law; however, an athlete's entourage may be held legally responsible for doping violations.