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Who determines whether a doping violation has occurred?


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As stated previously, the organizations that monitor for doping violations vary between sports. The largest anti-doping organization is WADA. WADA has developed a coordinated, worldwide anti-doping program that applies to sports that have signed a pledge to uphold the WADA Code. The WADA Code outlines their “anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations with sport organizations and among public authorities around the world”. More than 660 sports organizations have signed the WADA Code including the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, all Olympic Sport International Federations, and National Olympic and Paralympic Committees. The practical application of the WADA regulations is performed by national anti-doping agencies such as the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). 

Athletes who participate in sports that have signed the WADA code are subject to random in and out of competition testing. Testing may be performed on urine and/or blood samples depending on the substances being tested. The frequency and type of testing varies between sport based upon a variety of factors including history of doping in the sport, type of sports (e.g., endurance, strength/power), substances being taken, and duration of the season. 
Penalties for a doping violation vary greatly between sports. In sports that follow the WADA Code, a single violation can result in a ban from sports competition of up to 2 years while a second violation may result in a lifetime ban. The punishment for a first offense anti-doping violation in the NFL is a four-game suspension, in the NBA is a 5 game suspension, and in the NHL a 20 game suspension. 

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