Tackling Doping In Sport

ANTI DOPING

This was a webinar facilitated by David Longford from World Sports Law Reports and the speakers were Andy Parkinson, Head of UK Anti Doping (UKAD) and Ana Munoz, Head of Sports Health Protection Agency, Spain.

Andy Parkinson discussed the new proposed WADA Code; one of the key changes was that dopers will receive an automatic four year ban and will have to then give mitigating circumstances as to why this should be reduced. Currently dopers get a two year ban and the Anti Doping Agency has to justify why the doper should get a longer sentence, so a pretty major change. The four year ban will also apply to any athlete trying to evade or corrupt the doping sample collection process.

Andy Parkinson anticipates that there will be legal challenges to this proposal and explained that National Federations will need to show that they have a robust internal process and that their anti-doping programme can withstand external scrutiny. He explained that in the UK there is a great deal of intelligence sharing with law enforcement agencies and that there was a great trust between UKAD and law agencies. He expanded upon this by outlining that testing should be conducted intelligence and athlete risk assessment profiling. Andy detailed that given the costs that it was appreciated that National Federations may decide what sampling analysis they would and wouldn’t test for however he warned that having a very narrow sample analysis programme may mean that it would be easier not to detect prohibited or banned substances.

Within the UKAD intelligence gathering there was some ambivalence about offering amnesty to dopers; it was rare that dopers provided intelligence that the Anti Doping Agency had not already obtained however there was still a reticence for clean athletes to provide information on suspected dopers. This intelligence was key to allow the targeted testing of dopers.

Andy Parkinson explained that education of athletes, their coaching, support staff including agents and sponsors was key. That all had to have the core ethical value of competing clean. We had a duty to educate those involved with future champions.

Ana Munoz detailed the legislation passed on 13th June 2013 in Spain following on from Op Puerto and the lessons learned.  Both Ana and Andy Parkinson agreed that domestic Anti Doping legislation was unique to individual countries – one size does not fit all.

The new law creates a specific Police department to deal with the intelligence and investigation of doping offences with one of the sanctions being fines up to 400,000 Euros.

The new law focuses on the athlete’s health and applies to National and foreign athletes; it applies to athletes and those involved with the athlete including coach; doctor; managers and team leaders. It allows the provision of night time testing to ensure that time critical testing can be conducted.

Sponsors are being encouraged to write into their contracts that the sponsored athlete will race clean and will pay back any monies received if they breach this by doping.

The education of athletes and their network was a recurring theme echoed by Ana Munoz.

Ana Munoz finished by stating that we had to learn from history when it comes to Anti Doping, that we should not do what we have always done but that it needs to be changed.

This was an engaging, informative and thought provoking discussion.

For more info follow: @nodopinginsport