Since 2001 the GAA have been drug testing players as part of an agreement with the Irish Sports Council (now 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.
ALL GAA members are subject to the Anti-Doping Rules as adopted by the Sport Ireland (Rule 1.16 GAA Official Guide 2019). 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.
The information that follows highlights key areas with regard to anti-doping. The GAA advises 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 players and their support personnel such as coaches and parents; therefore it is critical that any questions/concerns be clarified with either the GAA or Sport Ireland.
There were several changes to the Irish Anti-Doping rules which came into effect on 1 January 2015. The main changes for players to note are in relation to sanctions and risk of supplements. The use of serious doping substances for example steroids, growth hormone, EPO and various calculated doping methods for example blood transfusions can be sanctioned with four year bans. Refusing to provide or evading sample collection will now be sanctioned with bans up to four years. The issue of contaminated supplements has been acknowledged by the latest version of the Anti-Doping Rules. If a player can establish ‘no significant fault or negligence’ then the sanction can range from a reprimand to a maximum of two years. This concept is explained in more detail in the ‘Risk minimisation’ section.
The prohibited list is updated by WADA annually and is available at https://www.wada-ama.org/en/what-we-do/prohibited-list
Sport Ireland have issued the following advisroy notes in relation to the changes for 2020:
GAA Senior Inter County Player Anti-Doping Course
All members of the Association, particularly those involved in the Senior Inter-County scene, are advised to complete the GAA's Anti-Doping E-Learning Course so as they are aware of their rights and responsibilities in relation to anti-doping.
The GAA's Senior Inter-County Player E-Learning Couse (2019/20) can be accessed by following the the below link:
Steps to access to online Anti-Doping Course
- Click on the above link
- Click on the Course Title and you will be prompted to log in
- Once you have logged in (by using an existing account or by registering a new account), you will be brought directly back to the course and simply have to click 'enter'
- You will then be asked to enter an Enrolment key. This tells us what County and Code you are part of. The format of the enrolment is - Capital letter County name, Capital letter Code and the number 20 with no spaces, e.g. DublinHurling20 or CarlowFootball20
-You will not be let proceed into the course unless the enrolment key is correctly formatted.
e-Learning - GAA Anti-Doping Education
All members of the Association, particularly those involved in the Senior Inter-County scene, are advised to complete the GAA's Anti-Doping E-Learning Courses so as they are aware of their rights and responsibilities in relation to anti-doping.
As part of its commitment to educating players, medica and team support personnel, the Medical, Scientific and Welfare Committee has development specific resources which aim to educate key stakeholders in key areas of Anti-Doping.
GAA Anti-Doping Education Videos can be viewed 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 on request by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
From January 1 2016 Blood Testing will be introduced to Gaelic games as part of the Association's Anti-Doping Programme in conjunction with Sport Ireland.
Blood testing is not a replacement for urine testing. Sport Ireland can test both blood and/or urine on certain occasions.
The sanction for refusal is a period of ineligibility of up to four years from sport.
Testing of GAA players can only occur at training or games.
For more information regarding anti-doping in the GAA, please e-mail email@example.com or tel: (01) 865 8610.