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This study explains how the Council of Europe (CE) influenced the international anti-doping movement from the 1960s until the establishment of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 1999. As a European regional intergovernmental organization, the CE endeavored to cultivate a unified Europe by guiding countries in harmonizing their laws and by facilitating cultural exchanges. This mission led the CE to recruit sport as a tool for cultural exchange and to in turn enact anti-doping legislation. Moreover, given its structure, the CE’s work in anti-doping took the form of harmonized international legislation that helped lay the foundations for an international anti-doping movement. Ultimately, the CE’s work served as a touchstone for many sport organizations, especially the International Olympic Committee and its efforts to manage doping in elite sport. This kind of involvement, including collaboration in the setup of WADA in 1999, makes a plausible case to consider the CE a main, rather than periphery, player in anti-doping history and one of the greater influencers regarding the international anti-doping governance structure and legislation.
The author is with the Department of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA.