Sport and Doping Back in the Spotlight

Sport Ireland will launch its 2017 Anti-Doping Review in Dublin this Thursday with a discussion aimed at “Supporting clean athletes by shifting the focus from stopping those who might dope to support those who compete clean.”

They do so against a background of fresh calls for action against the Sky Cycling Team in the UK on foot of a report issued yesterday by Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

It suggests that there was a misuse of therapeutic use exemptions to aid performance rather than for medical need, an allegation strongly refuted by Sir Bradley Wiggins and others on the team.

The report states unequivocally that “This does not constitute a violation of the World Anti-Doping Agency code, but it does cross the ethical line that David Brailsford says he himself drew for Team Sky. In this case, and contrary to the testimony of David Brailsford in front of the committee, we believe that drugs were being used by Team Sky, within the Wada rules, to enhance the performance of riders, and not just to treat medical need.”

It also pulls few punches in athletics where it questions “whether the International Amateur Athletics Federation was fully committed to investigating difficult issues when they arise.”

There have been calls to withhold state funding of performance and elite sports programmes where shortcoming in policy and process for anti-doping are revealed.

At the same time though, the UK Government revealed last month that it was increasing the money it will make available to the UK Anti Doping Agency by £6 Million or 50 percent over the next two years with Sports minister Tracey Crouch saying “We must do all we can to make sure sport is free from doping and that players and fans are confident that there is a level playing field.”

“This £6 million additional funding for UKAD will help us take the fight even harder to those trying to cheat through doping. It will also help educate people at all levels of sport about the dangers of image and performance enhancing drugs and maintain UKAD’s standing as one of the leading anti-doping agencies in the world.”

The Sport Ireland review will take place at The Law Society of Ireland and the discussion will include input from the UK Anti Doping Agency Head of Education and Athlete Support Amanda Hudson, Tony Cunningham the Education Manager with the World Anti Doping Agency and Jacqui Freyne, Performance and development manager with Athletics Ireland.

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