Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reform needed to tackle doping in sport

Reform is needed if anti-doping authorities are to effectively tackle doping, said anti-doping experts at Tackling Doping in Sport on 24 February, organised by World Sports Law Report and hosted by sports lawyers Hammonds LLP. “Athletes are receiving six month bans for doping offences because sporting federations are afraid that Article 45 [of the IOC Charter] could be challenged”, said Travis Tygart, Chief Executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency. “We’ve got to get mad and return the playing field to clean athletes. We should be aggressive, but also be fair.”


Article 45 of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Charter prevents athletes convicted of a doping offence from participating in the next edition of the Olympic Games. Antonio Rigozzi, a Partner with Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, highlighted that legal challenges to the Article are “inevitable, and will most likely be successful”.


“The Hardy case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] will be an important test”, continued Tygart, referring to the 12 March hearing of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) appeal for an extension of American swimmer Jessica Hardy’s one-year ban for testing positive for a banned anabolic agent. WADA is seeking that Hardy should be banned for two years and declared ineligible for the London 2012 Olympics.


Reform of the WADA’s Athletes Commission was also seen as essential. “It exists purely to provide soundbites to the Executive Board of WADA”, said Ian Smith, Legal Director of the Professional Cricketers’ Association. “It has no power and it is useless – it is not elected”. UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) said that efforts were being made to reform athlete commissions at a national level first.


Andy Parkinson, Chief Executive of UKAD, said that more needed to be done to break down the “wall of silence” put up by the clean athlete community when questioned about who is using drugs. “Sophisticated networks are out there geared towards cheating in sport”, said Parkinson, who has been talking to Crimestoppers about how they deal with anonymous tip-offs. “Our focus is now on intelligence. Since 14 December, 75% of doping charges have been as a result of indirect intelligence.” However, he warned about the dangers of laying down anti-doping legislation – an option currently being considered by the UK government. “There needs to be a significant discussion about the impact. I would suggest that we perhaps don’t need a legislative regime that would impact 60 million people without first considering those who will have to enforce it.”


Pat McQuaid, President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), presented his view that the number of admissions to doping since 2007 represented a turnaround for elite cycling’s “deeply entrenched culture of cheating”.


Mike Earl, Doping Control Programme Manager for the Football Association (FA), highlighted the difficulties that differences between out-of-competition testing and in-competition testing could create, in a talk about social drugs. Currently, WADA’s prohibited list prevents the taking of cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine in competition, but does not prevent it out of competition. “Surely it is better to say ‘you just can’t take this stuff’?”, he said.


Delegates said that they were impressed with the high concentration of key decision makers at the event, which included seven international sporting federations (such as the IRB, ITF, FEI…), 12 national sporting associations (FA, RFU, BOA, BHA…) and governmental organisations such as the Irish Sports Council, Malta Sports Council and more.

 Andy Brown

Monday, February 01, 2010

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Global Anti-Doping Experts To Address WSLR Event

Anti-doping experts from around the globe will address Tackling Doping in Sport, a unique event organised by World Sports Law Report and Hammonds, taking place on 24 February at Hammonds’ London offices. Key speakers include Pat McQuaid, President of the Union Cycliste Internationale; Travis Tygart, Chief Executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency; Andy Parkinson, Chief Executive of UK Anti-Doping; Françoise Dagouret, Manager of the Doping Free Sport Unit for SportAccord; Mike Earl, Doping Control Programme Manager for England’s Football Association; Simon Bowden, Anti-Doping Officer for England’s Rugby Football Union and more, listed here.

The conference is designed to address recent developments in the fight against doping, such as the use of athlete biological passports and whether blood profiling alone can be used to convict an athlete of doping, such as in the case of Claudia Pechstein. The conference will also discuss the use of intelligence in the fight against doping, such as the recent alliance between Canadian border police and the International Olympic Committee for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Doping and privacy will also be another major topic, especially the World Anti-Doping Agency’s regulations which equate three failures to report your whereabouts with a doping violation.

London’s 2012 anti-doping strategy will be debated, as will whether a distinction needs to be made within anti-doping regulations between performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. For a full programme, click here.

As might be expected, delegate spaces for such a detailed programme are selling out fast. For more information on attending, contact Erika Joyce on +44 (0)20 7012 1383.


Monday, January 18, 2010

UK Bill to criminalise doping and allow police drug searches

Lord Moynihan will shortly introduce a Bill into Parliament that, if passed, will criminalise the supply of performance-enhancing drugs to sport. It will also allow police to obtain a warrant from a court to search London 2012 athlete rooms if they believe doping is taking place.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.

New gambling licence requirements could impact UK sports sponsorship

The UK government's plan to require all overseas-based gambling operators to be licensed by the Gambling Commission could affect sports sponsorship and advertising, as it will require European gambling advertisers to obtain a licence and contribute towards regulatory costs.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.

FIA to appeal Briatore ban annulment

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) will appeal against the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance's (TGI) decision to annul the FIA's life ban on Renault Formula One (F1) team principal Flavio Briatore. 'The President of the FIA has consulted the FIA Senate and the FIA's lawyers about the decision of the [TGI] of Paris of 5 January', read an 11 January statement. 'It was unanimously agreed that an appeal would be prepared'.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.

Opinion: FIFA's Early Warning System: protecting the integrity of sport

Sport is often said to be the most beautiful pastime in the world and betting on events adds an even greater thrill to the sporting experience. The majority of those who place bets do so because of their enjoyment of sport and simply wish to chance their luck. However, there is a minority who misappropriate sport and this has hugely damaging consequences.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.

Autobiographies: Sanctioning ex-athletes for autobiographical revelations

A number of ex-athletes have recently made claims about how they flouted their sport's regulations while they were competing. Simon Grove and Joseph Parks, of IPS Law LLP, examine the ability of sporting bodies to sanction ex-athletes and explore how the ability of national associations and international federations to sanction ex-athletes can often differ.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.

Doping: Trainers, negligence and antidoping rules

The Court of Arbitration for Sport recently overturned a two-year ban imposed on the trainer of an athlete for being negligent in his coaching duties due to lack of evidence of involvement in any doping violation, after the athlete was found to have committed a doping violation. Adam Finlay, a Solicitor with McCann FitzGerald Solicitors, examines how the World Anti-Doping Code applies to athlete support personnel and discusses the ambiguity over the degree of fault necessary on the part of athlete support personnel to constitute a doping violation.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.

Doping: NFL: federal exemption for drug rules to trump State law

The National Football League's (NFL) suspension of five players last year for using a diuretic has led to a prolonged series of legal battles and a Congressional hearing, where the NFL asked Congress to pass a law allowing its performance enhancing drug testing policies to trump State laws. Gabe Feldman, Director of the Tulane Sports Law Program, discusses the developments that led to the hearing and why he believes that the special federal legislation for the NFL is unwarranted at this point.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.


Arbitration: CAS: analysis of revised rules of procedure

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will introduce new procedural rules and a new Code of Sports-related Arbitration from 1 January 2010. Ian Blackshaw, a member of the CAS, explains the changes introduced by the new rules.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.

Sponsorship: Affirmation of contract: Force India v Etihad

The High Court recently ruled that Etihad had waived its contractual right to terminate its sponsorship of the Force India Formula One team, due to continued ignorance of breaches of the agreement. Patrick Rennie, a Trainee Solicitor with Bird & Bird LLP, examines the reasons behind the decision and the lessons it holds for contracting parties.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.

Cheating: Feigning of blood injuries in rugby union: implications

Harlequins has been fined and its coach, Dean Richards, suspended for feigning a blood injury in order to allow a specialist drop-kicker to return to the field of play during the final few minutes of a Heineken Cup rugby union quarter-final. Stuart Cutting, Head of the sports law unit at Wright Hassall Solicitors, examines the action taken by rugby union authorities, the implications for the game and for wider sport.

To read the full article in the January edition of World Sports Law Report, click here.