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Mandatory Anti-Doping Education Program For All European Athletics Event Competitors

European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen has announced a radical proposal under which competitors who want to take part in major international events may soon have to complete an online anti-doping education platform.

It was announced by Hansen that he plans to launch the new criteria starting with European Athletics Under-18 Championships in Györ in Hungary next year. The goal is to make all athletes completed the program called "I Run Clean" before the 2020 European Championships are staged in Paris.

The European Athletics President has pledged before his election in 2015 in his manifesto to introduce enhanced anti-doping education leading to a ‘driver’s license’ to compete. Under an innovation introduced in December 2015, all athletes competing at European Championship events now wear bibs saying “I run clean”, “I throw clean” or “I jump clean.”

Hansen remarked athletes at our Championships for the last 18 months have wearing number bibs with the words ‘I Run Clean’ as a statement of their commitment to fair play and doping-free sport. The European Athletics President added we are now offering a fantastic tool branded with the same words to help them understand exactly what they have to do to keep that pledge. Hansen said he believes the vast majority of athletes want to compete fairly and want to know that others will do the same. Hansen also commented that our responsibility is to provide reliable information in a way they want to receive it, and it only makes sense to insist that everyone goes through this important preparation before they are allowed to compete in our events.

The European Athletics President also said that the image of athletics will be enhanced if we can show parents, the public and partners that we are doing everything we possibly can to keep our sport clean.

The campaign that still has to be officially passed by the European Athletics Council has been developed with input from athletes, sport officials, educationists and doping control experts. This campaign includes eight user-friendly interactive modules that can be accessed through tablets, smartphones, and computers from the "I Run Clean" platform. The units of this campaign cover the anti-doping rules, doping control procedures and issues like dietary supplements and therapeutic use exemptions. The campaign will be available in 12 languages by the end of this year.

Dr Pedro Branco, chairman of European Athletics Medical and Anti-Doping Commission, said elite athletes competing at European-level events are the initial target group as they are at the greatest risk from doping but primarily because they are role models. Branco said when all national athletes, even youngsters, understand that this program is something all top athletes need to do, they will be interested and they will want to get their own 'I Run Clean' diploma. The chairman of European Athletics Medical and Anti-Doping Commission also commented that our long-term aim is to help our Member Federations take the fight against doping to every athlete in Europe. Branco also remarked we are currently working on the translations and starting to work with the Federations to promote I Run Clean as a supplement or support for their own efforts to reach out to grassroots athletes and kids through clubs and schools.

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Albert Wolfgang
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