Volume: 5 Issue: 2
UK Sport, which conducts doping tests on behalf of sports governing bodies, has dismissed plans for an independent UK regulator to test, investigate and prosecute doping offences, suggested in a Select Committee on Science and Technology report, Human Enhancement Technologies in Sport.
'The recommendation isn't backed up with evidence as to why an independent agency is required, compared with the more in-depth studies carried out by PMP (consultants) and the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which both concluded that there is no reason to establish such an agency', said John Scott, Director of Drug-Free Sport at UK Sport.
A conflict of interest between UK Sport's role as testing body, and the responsibility of sports governing bodies for deciding if a doping offence had been committed and on any sanctions to be implemented, was illustrated by Dr. Bruce Hamilton, of UK Athletics. It 'is difficult to have your educational supporting body being your prosecuting body', he said in the report.
The report's 34 recommendations include a government-funded UK pilot of a 'doping passport', recording an athlete's physiological profile; increased storage of data and samples for retrospective testing; the criminalisation of doping; a minimum four year ban 'in all instances of proven doping'.
Dr. Gregory Ioannidis, a Lecturer in sports law at the University of Buckingham and Attorney for Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, who missed doping tests prior to the Athens 2004 Olympics, suggested that some of the recommendations, if implemented, could be challenged. "Four year bans have already been successfully challenged in the courts, such as in the case of Katrin Krabbe".
Ioannidis also said that the introduction of a doping 'passport' could be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.
The report also suggests the 'retention of B samples where a positive result is not found', recommending that WADA and UK Sport 'increase storing of data and samples to allow re-evaluation...once more sophisticated detection methodologies have been developed'. Ioannidis said this could be challenged on human rights grounds.
Ioannidis also welcomed the "clarity and transparency" that criminalising doping would provide, while Mike Morgan, a Solicitor with Hammonds, was more cautious. "A lot of the recommendations don't seem to have considered the legal ramifications", he said.
UK Sport said it would work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to consider the recommendations, responding 'in due course'.