The UK's anti-doping framework
In his opening remarks, David Kenworthy told MPs and Peers that doping is another face of criminality, emphasising the importance of working with law enforcement agencies to detect and prosecute those who produce and supply banned substances. Andy Parkinson highlighted that while substances are becoming more accessible and the rewards for success even greater, detection is becoming more difficult. Pharmacological technology continues to develop rapidly and the pressures on athletes are ever increasing. For this reason, he said, the problem of doping is likely to get worse before it gets better.
APPG members heard that while the proportion of athletes found to be doping is small, rates of positive tests are not a reliable guide to the extent of the problem. Recent high-profile cases have demonstrated the very real danger of major scandals undermining the public’s level of trust and interest in sport. Indeed, a high-profile doping case at the 2012 Olympics would severely damage the reputation of the Games and it is particularly important that no member of Team GB is found to be taking performance enhancing drugs. UKAD is already working closely with sports governing bodies as well as the Games organisers (LOCOG) and authorities in other Olympic countries in recognition of this risk. They are also aware of the risk to future events such as the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
Later in the meeting the Chair of the APPG, Lord Pendry, questioned how UKAD had responded to pressure from the International Olympic Committee to criminalise the use of banned substances. Former England rugby union captain Martin Corry stated his view that the rules were already very clear cut and David Kenworthy agreed that as no gaps have been identified in existing regulations no further legislation is necessary. In response to questions from members about the source of banned substances, Andy Parkinson explained that drugs can easily be obtained online or through personal contacts, and that evidence exists of sophisticated and profitable supply chains.
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