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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2012 June;65(2):129-43

language: English, Italian

The biological passport

Valori G. 1, Massoni F. 2, Feola T. 2, Onofri E. 2, Ricci S. 2

1 LUMSA University;
2 Department of Anatomical, Histological, Medico-Legal and Locomotor Apparatus Sciences, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy


Doping is an ever-increasing social phenomenon. Its epidemiology and reported prevalence do not match current official statistics, which are largely derived from competitive athlete populations. This article discusses several legal and forensic implications of the biological passport: one among recent programs to counter doping practices. The main points are: the biological passport has proved to be a useful tool in sports, but alone is not sufficient to combat doping; the biological passport does not, per se, constitute evidence that an athlete has cheated, but rather is a valuable tool to detect such behavior; the principle of retroactivity is inapplicable, since an atypical value on the passport, per se, does not constitute grounds for offence; longitudinal evaluation of hematological and hormonal profiles aims to assess more thoroughly, in comparison with other parameters, an athlete’s correct behavior. The World Antidoping Agency states that for blood and urine tests to be legally persuasive they must be performed by accredited centers and should lead to final judgments with a reasonably high probability.

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