Fitness Against Doping (FAD)


EHFA releases the Executive Summary of the final report of the FAD project and new position statement.

Click here to download the Executive Summary

Click here to download the Position Statement

Click here for the powerpoint presentation delivered in Copenhagen, 28th February 2012.

Click here for a copy of the PowerPoint presentation made at Sportvision 2012, Copenhagen

Click here for the link to the Fitness Code of Conduct on Anti-Doping

EHFA awarded EU funding for “Fitness Against Doping” project

FAD Logo

EHFA – European Health and Fitness Association (the representative body of the health & fitness sector, based in Brussels, Belgium) has been awarded a grant by the European Commission to lead a project to research and develop preventative strategies to counter doping practices in fitness facilities. EHFA was chosen as 1 of only 3 successful applicants from 146 submissions to the funding stream under the European Commission’s Preparatory Action in the Field of Sport. The EU allocates funding, such as this, to assist worthy, important and necessary projects which could not be carried out without the financial support of the Commission.

The Commission was impressed with EHFA’s proposed project entitled Fitness Against Doping (FAD) and will support the project from start to finish. The project takes a “transnational approach” to the fight against doping and, for that reason, EHFA have established a network of experienced partners from across Europe and beyond.

EHFA President, Harm Tegelaars, said “We are honored to work with the European Commission and our strategically picked partners, who for the first time will review whether there is any basis to assumptions made of doping practices in the fitness industry. With the support of its partners, EHFA will provide evidence-based information on the extent of doping in fitness and will critically assess the success of current anti-doping policies and will develop new intervention strategies. We are an important industry for the health of European citizens. As such, we need to act responsibly and recognise where we need to address potentially negative associations to our sector and tackle them in an evidenced based way.”

Summary of THE PROJECT Objectives and Activities

The White Paper on Sport recognises that doping poses a threat to the health of those involved in sports and ‘it calls on sport organisations to develop rules of good practice to ensure that young sportsmen and sportswomen are better informed and educated of doping substances.

Recognising that the fight against doping requires a coordinated transnational response, our research project will establish a network of partners across Europe. The aim of this network will be to provide evidence on the prevalence of doping within health and fitness centres across Europe and collate information on national anti-doping practice within the health and fitness industry. Our project will provide the evidence base for future targeted interventions within the industry and a network of best practice to further the fight against doping. 

Establishing the prevalence of doping in the European health and fitness industry requires a primary data collection technique combining a quantitative and qualitative research methodology. The method will involve undertaking questionnaires and structured and semi-structured interviews of health and fitness club members from a randomised sample. This primary data collection will provide the statistical prevalence of doping. 

The research will also involve using secondary sources to support the primary data collection. This will include doping prosecution statistics, research documents, government data and information from the health and fitness industry.

Government and industry policies will also be collated to determine best practice approaches to tackling any doping activity within the European health and fitness industry. The effectiveness of these policies will be supported by the evidence obtained via the primary data on the national prevalence of doping in the health and fitness industry. Information shall also be obtained by INTERPOL and national law enforcement officials involved in anti-doping initiatives.

The project outcomes shall include the creation of a network of best practice on anti-doping throughout Europe focused on the health and fitness sector. This network shall work in partnership and under the direction of EHFA to develop and insert anti-doping into the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda for the European health and fitness sector. The CSR will recognise that the industry has a role to play in preventing doping, smoking, alcohol abuse and providing nutritional advice. Understanding the prevalence of doping within the industry shall form a central component of the CSR.

The research results of this project shall provide information on the prevalence of doping within the European health and fitness industry. It shall also provide information on the doping target group, by providing background information such as their age, sex, socio-economic grouping and other lifestyle related information. This data can then be used for targeted policy interventions, including educating specific target groups on the detrimental health effects of doping. These policy developments in combination to the CSR agenda will provide the future of the European health and fitness industries fight against doping.


Since the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty the EU has acquired competence in the field of sport. The fight against doping has become one of the central themes of Commission Sports Unit, DG EAC and the European Union as a whole.

Doping has increased as a priority concern not only for its detrimental consequences for the reputation of sport and ‘fairness’ of competitions, but also due to its health implications for users.

There has been a growing range of sectoral, national and regional and international anti-doping agreements. Ranging from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) the Council of Europe (CoE) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

The draft report from the EU Anti-Doping Conference in Athens 13-15 May 2009 established that;

  • Doping is not only a problem for sport but it is a matter of public interest as it has increasingly become a major societal problem in terms of health and education.
  • There is a need of strong cooperation between all public and sport organizations involved in the fight against doping. And;
  • From the doping point of view, there is no difference between the professional sport and any other amateur sport.
  • It is essential to recognise that the fight against doping needs to happen at all level’s of sport whether organised or non-organised, elite or amateur, doping still has the same detrimental health effects.

Previous anti doping research and international regulation has focused on elite sports often to the neglect of amateur and non-organised sport. With over 40 million European citizens as members of health and fitness centres across Europe involved in non organised and amateur sports our network will provide the evidence on doping prevalence within the industry. Our research is essential to creating a future targeted anti doping policy.

The Commission has established that it will play a facilitating role, for example by supporting a network of national anti-doping organisations of Member States.

Our network which will be transnational, involving national health and fitness associations, sports associations and law enforcement agencies from across the EU will become an integral component of the Commissions drive to eliminate doping in sport.


The project started on 1st January 2011 and ended on 31 March 2012.

Research & Project partners

The project aims to establish a network of partners representing the health and fitness industry, sports association, and international law enforcement organisations. This network will be able to undertake the project research and establish the prevalence of doping in the European health and fitness industry as well as share knowledge and provide the platform for future sectoral anti-doping policy.

Fitness Against Doping Flyer - Bulgarian

Fitness Against Doping Flyer - Danish

Fitness Against Doping Flyer - Dutch

Fitness Against Doping Flyer - English 

Fitness Against Doping Flyer - French

Fitness Against Doping Flyer - German

Fitness Against Doping Flyer - Hungarian

Fitness Against Doping Flyer - Polish

Fitness Against Doping Flyer - Portuguese 

The project partners were:


EU The Fitness Against Doping project was co-funded by the European Commission