By Jean Baptiste Guillot, Partner and Virginie Molho, Counsel

The law of February 23, 2021, published the next day in the Official Journalempowers the government to make by ordinance, the measures falling within the scope of the law necessary to ensure compliance with domestic law to the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code, applicable from January 1, 2021.

Indeed, on January 11, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sent the Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) a report pointing out the shortcomings of France in the transcription into French law of the latest World Anti-Doping Code which entered into force on January 1, 2021. 

This Corrective Action Report (RMC) qualifies this irregularity as “critical”, the highest level of seriousness in the AMA scale. He also indicates to let AFLD a period of three months (i.e. until April 12, 2021) to comply. France having ratified the international convention against doping adopted under the aegis of Unesco in 2005, article 3 of which provides that "the States Parties undertake to adopt the appropriate measures at the national and international levels which are in conformity with the principles set out in the code ”is therefore obliged to urgently amend its legislation.

Let us recall that the heaviest sanction that could be imposed by WADA on France would be the exclusion of French athletes from international competitions. France not being able to take this risk at a time when our country is preparing to host major international events, such as the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, has therefore adopted this law.

This law consists of a single article.

By this article, the government is authorized to legislate by ordinance on the fight against doping in order to pursue three distinct but complementary objectives: 

First objective : recourse to delegated legislation should allow ensure that domestic law is brought into line with the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code ;

Second objective : the order must allow define the new status of the laboratory which the World Anti-Doping Code provides that it must henceforth be separated from the agency;

Third objective : it will also be up to the Government to strengthen the effectiveness of the anti-doping system by facilitating the collection of information by AFLD and cooperation between stakeholders.

This law thus makes it possible to integrate into national law the changes of the new World Anti-Doping Code, such as the creation of new anti-doping rule violations or the possibility of further modulating the sanctions or even improving the protection of whistleblowers. .

One of the major challenges of this law is to ensure the organic separation of the anti-doping analysis laboratory and the AFLD, in continuity with the modernization process launched with the construction of a new laboratory. The ordinance adopted within the framework of this enabling law will be the subject of a bill of ratification which must be submitted to Parliament within three months of its publication.

We believe that this bringing French law into line with the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code as well as the strengthening of the fight against doping illustrate France's commitment to respecting its international commitments as well as to the fight against doping. .

Jean Baptiste Guillot

Jean-Baptiste Guillot


Jean-Baptiste Guillot handles mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, commercial law, company law and contract law matters, with a particular focus on international transactions for Canadian, British and French companies.


Virginie molho


Virginie has acquired a solid expertise in sports law allowing her to support players in the sports industry in all types of legal issues in commercial law, company law, association law and social law applied to sport.