For the first time since its creation in 2005, the World Tour division recorded no doping cases last year, following an Olympic year that revealed fewer doping cases (all sports combined) but an important rise in corruption convictions.


Since 2014, the MPCC has been publishing this annual “barometer”, which only takes into account cases revealed by federations, anti-doping agencies, the justice system or the press. It also only takes into consideration procedures related to high-level or professional athletes. Since 2018, we have added corruption convictions, which include both financial malfeasance and match-fixing.

Regarding the past year, we can especially observe that Russia has regained first place in our ranking by nation, which had not happened for six years. It should be noted that in 2021, there weren’t almost any revelations following re-analyses ordered by WADA. The clean sweep had occurred before with a spectacular record: the Russians were stripped of 29% of their medals over all the five previous Summer Games (Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio).

This increase in positive cases for 2021 illustrates the need for Russian sports leaders to purge a perverted system, in order to regain trust from the main sports authorities. Their new approach follows the sanctions taken towards the Russian Olympic Committee, which was suspended for the Olympic Games of Pyeongchang (2018), Tokyo (2021) and Beijing (2022). Likewise, the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) has been extended for a seventh consecutive year in 2022 by World Athletics. Only Russian athletes who proved the absence of doping use were authorized to compete, under a neutral banner.

Once again, 2021 was strongly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many sporting events were canceled, even if the Tokyo Olympics (a year late), the European football championship and the Tour de France did take place. As far as it is concerned, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) assures it was able to successfully carry out its anti-doping program, which was not the case in 2020.

In this context, we surprisingly note, for the fourth year in a row, a significant decrease in the number of cases publicly revealed. This steady decline over the past four years leads us to tally half as many doping and corruption revelations in 2021 in comparison to 2018!

We find the most significant decreases in athletics (half fewer cases than last year) and baseball (with 96 cases, it was the most affected sport in 2017. Only 5 cases this year).

With all its disciplines included, cycling (ranked in 7th position) remains with constant numbers ​​over time (except for a leap in 2019). However, the absence of doping revelations in the World Tour last year is a first since the division’s creation in 2005; it is even a first since cycling decided to really tackle the plague of doping, following the Festina affair (1998).

On the field, some stakeholders and managers are not delighted about this news. Testimonials from emblematic riders once again point out a “two-speed cycling” and the UCI Director said in a recent interview (1) that anti-doping tests are no longer enough to catch cheaters. According to Amina Lamiya, more radical methods of investigation should be considered. The MPCC fully supports this approach and is therefore encouraged to put the flattering reality of the figures in this table into perspective.

Fortunately, cycling seems to not have been affected by the problems of corruption and fixed results. This is not the case for other sports such as tennis, cricket, even football, where convictions are increasing. In 2022, we will also need to closely follow the sex scandals, which are more and more numerous, and which seriously harm the credibility and integrity of certain sports.

(1) Ouest France, January 10, 2022