ERASMUS+ NADGO - National Anti-Doping Governance Observer

Head of project
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mittag

IESF staff entrusted with project
Lorenz Fiege

Period of research
Jan 2019 – Jun 2021

Project coordination
Danish Institute for Sports Studies (Idan) / Play the Game

Consortium partners (Universities)
German Sport University Cologne
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Warsaw University

Consortium partners (National Anti-Doping Agencies)
Anti Doping Denmark
Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO)
NADA Germany
Polish Anti-Doping Agency (POLADA)
Slovak Anti-Doping Agency
Sport Ireland (Anti-Doping Unit)

Consortium Partners (Athlete’s representation)
European Elite Athletes Association (EU Athletes)
Fair Sport


Repeated corruption scandals, never-ending doping revelations and a lack of transparency have led to an increasingly critical public perception of the organisation of international elite and competitive sport. Against this backdrop, good governance in sports organisations has advanced to become an international sports policy concept that is being implemented and further developed by a growing number of internal and external actors.

Good governance in international sport aims to increase the legitimacy and effectiveness of sport governing bodies (SGOs) both internally and externally. However, leading institutions of the international anti-doping system, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs), are facing increasing criticism from internal and external partners (e.g. donors) and the public regarding the limited voice of stakeholders (e.g. athletes) and the low effectiveness of the doping control system.

The Erasmus+ project 'National Anti-Doping Governance Observer: Benchmarking Governance in National Anti-Doping Organisations' (NADGO) aims to accompany NADOs from EU countries in identifying and implementing specific good governance principles and to show perspectives in overcoming conflicts of interest as well as organisational reforms and decision-making processes of NADOs. The German Sport University Cologne supports the project as part of a consortium of European NADOs, independent athlete representatives and other universities in the research area of "Good Governance".

As part of the project, current organisational structures, statutes and internal processes as well as context-specific challenges in the field of anti-doping were first recorded. This was followed by the development of a 'Code of Good Governance' and practicable comparison tool that can be used to evaluate NADOs with regard to selected good governance indicators.

The key research findings were presented at an online symposium organised by NADA Germany, iNADO and Play the Game on 18 and 19 May 2021, where the final assessments of the participating NADOs based on the developed good governance principles and indicators were presented and discussed, as well as key points of conflict, challenges and practical implications for improving the legitimacy and effectiveness of anti-doping governance.

The 'National Anti-Doping Governance Observer' (NADGO), a comprehensive 'Code of Good Governance' for anti-doping organisations operating at national or sub-national level, can be downloaded from the Play the Game website.

National Anti-Doping Governance Observer: indicators and instructions for assessing good governance in national anti-doping organisations.

The aggregated final project report, including methodology, country reports, scores of the participating NADOs as well as overall conclusions and recommendations for action will be published in October 2021.