Wednesday, August 06, 2008

World Sports Law Report: Tackling Doping in Sport

Following on from the success of our Player Contracts Briefing in July, which was attended by just under 100 delegates, World Sports Law Report is organising a full-day Briefing examining anti-doping regulations in sport. The Briefing will be hosted by Charles Russell LLP at their London offices on 22 October.

As the Dwain Chambers case illustrated, striking a balance between strict liability against dopers and an athletes right to compete is a difficult task. It has been pointed out that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) two-year ban allows an athlete to commit a doping offence at the Olympics, yet compete again in four years’ time. However as international sports lawyer Ian Blackshaw pointed out in the July edition of World Sports Law Report, a lifetime ban could be considered an unreasonable restraint of trade.

A lifetime ban for a user of recreational drugs, who is not cheating to beat his competitors, may also not be the most humane policy, as highlighted by Ian Smith, Vice President, Legal Affairs with the Professional Cricketers’ Association. It may also be considered unfair that athletes in a relay team relinquish their medals if one of the team is convicted of doping, as the Antonio Pettigrew and Marion Jones cases proved.

Methods of doping and avoiding detection, combined with restrictions based on athlete privacy into what data can be collected from athletes, are making the job of anti-doping authorities problematic. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to decide when a method of training or simulation should be considered anti-doping, as WADA’s debate over whether to include hypoxic chambers on its prohibited substances list illustrated.

All of these issues, as well as the future of anti-doping and doping regulation will be discussed at the Briefing. For more information, click here or contact Laura Caruso on +44 (0)20 7012 1384, or by clicking here.

Andy Brown



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