Promoting Fairness in Sport through Performance-Enhancing Substances: An argument for Why Sport Referees Ought to “Be on Drugs”

Thomas Søbirk Petersen*, Janvier Frias

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The debate on the use of performance-enhancing substances or methods to improve refereeing is underdeveloped in the sport philosophical literature. This contrast with the attention scholars have devoted to the use of such substances and methods for athletic purposes. However, when considered from the perspective of fairness, this differential treatment is problematic. Since one of the main concerns with performance-enhancing drugs is their detrimental effect on fairness, the use of performance-enhancing drugs and methods to improve refereeing, given their positive effects on fairness, should have more relevance in the literature. If anti-doping advocates aim to protect and promote fairness in sport, they should consider the possibility of using performance-enhancing drugs or methods to improve refereeing. In this article, we make an argument for this possibility and critically discuss some possible objections. We conclude that referees, under certain conditions, ought to use doping substances or methods.
TidsskriftSport, Ethics and Philosophy
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)199-207
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 5 maj 2021


  • Doping
  • Ethics
  • Fairness
  • Fair play
  • Refereeing
  • Sports etchis

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