As discussed above, empirical [Pitsch et al., 2016] as well as model [Haugen, 2004] evidence indicate that doping prevalence vary between sports. Or stated alternatively; the positive performance effect of PEDs is higher in certain sports than in others. Logically, one should expect that the more complex the sport is, the higher the doping prevalence is, given all other dimensions equal.
As a consequence, if certain sports have less doping problems (say football (soccer)) why not redesign the problematic sports in a more complex manner in order to reduce doping prevalence?
Such a strategy has obvious benefits.
The adverse consequences of traditional anti doping strategies, as discussed in section 2, are largely eliminated. Changing rules in a sport should not cost very much, and potential adverse effects can be kept at a minimum by wise redesign decisions.
This strategy has not been extensively discussed in research literature. However, an interesting exception exists [Haugen et al., 2013]. Here, an example, although on the opposite mechanism, is discussed.
The example is from cross-country skiing and discusses potential adverse doping effects of substituting interval start competitions with mass start competitions. In traditional cross-country skiing, the interval start was the norm. In such a competition, athletes start in intervals, and total competition is measured for each athlete. After all athletes have finished, total times are ranked, and the winner is the one with the smallest time.
In a mass start event, the first athlete passing the finishing line is the winner. As discussed in [Haugen et al., 2013], one possibly unexpected consequence of such a change is that a mass start opens for more possible winners. It is always easier to ski behind other athletes beacuse air resistance is minimized.
Hence, not so good skiers get improved chances to win. Unfortunately, in a doping context, giving more skiers winning opportunities also (obviously) enhances their incentives to use drugs. They are now potential winners, and for a potential winner doping is suddenly an interesting strategy.