AFLD in short

French Anti-Doping Agency

Created in 2006 to define and implement anti-doping measures at national level, the AFLD is the result of the merger of the Council for the prevention and fight against doping (CPFD) and the National Doping Detection Laboratory (NDDL).

Legal status: Independent public authority

Funding: annual budget of around €11 million

What is doping?

Definition from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA):

Doping is defined as one or more anti-doping rule violations

11 violations are specified in the World Anti-Doping Code (a document harmonizing doping rules for all sports and in all countries), including the taking of prohibited substances by athletes, but also the trafficking of doping products, their administration by the athlete’s entourage or threats to whistle-blowers.

In the event of an anti-doping rule violation, particularly following a positive test, athletes are liable to disciplinary sanctions (suspension). The use of doping substances has not been punishable under criminal law since 1989, but trafficking in and possession of such substances remain punishable.

In France, the French Sports Code defines the way in which doping is dealt with and combated. In particular, it governs the operation and powers of the AFLD and the responsibilities of sports federations in terms of anti-doping education.

In 2019, disciplinary powers will be transferred from the sports federations to the AFLD. Sanctions are handed down by the College (in the event of agreement with the athlete) or the Agency’s Sanction Commission.

Key words

Definition of the
doping control policy

Taking samples
(human and animal)

Regulation of disciplinary procedures

national TUEs


Consulting (for the State
& sports federations)

public health

Intelligence gathering and surveys

Anti-doping education

Doping control specifications

Doping controls are the responsibility of the anti-doping organizations that have signed the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) and undertaken to implement it. Its application by signatories is constantly monitored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Anti-doping organizations are essentially international sports federations (IFs) and national anti-doping organizations (NADOs). In France, the NADO is the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).

When an athlete violates anti-doping rules, he or she is liable to be sanctioned by the AFLD or by his or her international federation (suspension from sporting activity, fine, annulment of results if the violation concerns a competition, etc.).

Anti-doping tests carried out by organizations that are not signatories to the WADA do not allow athletes with a “positive test” to be sanctioned.

To be officially recognized, a doping control must meet all of the following criteria:

Doping tests do not have to be announced in advance, but are carried out during or outside competitions, according to an annual testing program. Deterrence is based on the “surprise effect”.

The choice of athletes to be tested is never left to chance, but takes into account a number of criteria: sporting performance, competition and training schedule, doping risks, intelligence gathered, and so on.

There is therefore never a systematic control of all participants in a competition. A “test” imposed or proposed when registering for a sporting competition is not an AFLD test.

No payment is required from the athlete for the doping control.This is an essential criterion for determining whether a test is “official” or not. A test for which the athlete pays is not an AFLD test.

Testers are nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and/or OPJs who have been trained, supervised and sworn before the judicial court. Their findings are binding until proven otherwise.Their training is continuous and follows the guidelines of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Samples taken during a doping control must be analyzed by a WADA-accredited laboratory. In France, there is only one such laboratory: the French Anti-Doping Laboratory at Paris-Saclay University.

During a doping control, the athlete is presented with the mission order and the name of the organization that requested the test, and is given a copy of the test report once the sample has been taken.

In the event of an anti-doping rule violation, the athlete will be notified by the AFLD or by his or her international federation of the proceedings initiated and of the rights he or she has to defend himself or herself.

If an athlete is sanctioned for an anti-doping rule violation, the suspension applies worldwide. All anti-doping organizations ensure that the suspension is respected for the duration of the sanction.

Failure to comply with this prohibition may result in further disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.

Key figures for 2022

trained and certified anti-doping educators
Samples collected as part of the annual inspection program
Certified and sworn Doping Control Officer
Samples collected for other anti-doping organizations
Abnormal analysis results, i.e. 0.71% of samples taken as part of the annual inspection program
Registered disciplinary files
Reported doping incidents
Open inquiries
Therapeutic use exemptions received