Tackling Doping in Sport conference was recently held at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 March 2014. This conference brought together many of the leading anti-doping experts of the world.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Director General David Howman, travelling from Montreal to address delegates, started the first day of the conference with his presentation ‘What Lies Ahead’ and discussed the implementation of the new “stronger, clearer and fair” World Anti-Doping Code, effective from 1 January 2015. The WADA Director General said the anti-doping agency was emphasizing for measuring the quality of tests, rather than quantity in the future. Howman added that the requirement for anti-doping organizations to perform investigations and share information throughout the anti-doping community is a focal component of the new Code.
The conference was attended by 280 delegates from over 25 countries and heard about the significance of education in the fight against doping in sport. The principles of decision making and behavior change that contribute towards an athlete doping were explored by a panel, including UKAD Head of Education and Athlete Support Amanda Batt and this was followed by a series of audience-led ‘Preventing Doping through Education’ round-table discussions.
UKAD solicitor Stacey Shevill delivered her presentation entitled ’An Intelligence-Led Prosecution’ and focused on the case of Dean Colclough. The former Welsh Rugby Union player was suspended from all sport for eight years after he was found guilty of committing anti-doping rule violations involving the possession and trafficking of anabolic steroids that yielded results after the investigation was prompted by the receipt of information from the UK Border Force.
On the second day of the conference, US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart presented the ‘Perceptual deterrence and fighting for equal protection of athletes’. Tygart, using the case of Lance Armstrong as an athlete, emphasized the importance of intelligence and information sharing for prosecuting sophisticated dopers. Lance Armstrong, regarded once as the world’s most successful cyclists, was banned last year for using performance enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France seven consecutive times.
After this, the audience was addressed by International Cycling Union (UCI) Director General Martin Gibbs alongside leading sports journalists David Walsh and Nick Harris, as he outlined the role of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission for informing and developing the anti-doping program of cycling. The event concluded with Jenny Schulze from Nordic Athlete Passports Management Unit (NAPMU) offering explanation of updates to steroid profile program, which was followed by Spanish Anti Doping Agency (AEPSAD) Director General Enrique Gomez Bastida discussing Operation Puerto.
UKAD Chief Executive Andy Parkinson, in his closing speech to conference participants, said listening to leaders and experts from across the anti-doping community was extremely insightful and the opportunity to develop new international relationships was invaluable. Parkinson added that UK Anti-Doping has always emphasized the importance of taking an international approach and Tackling Doping in Sport continues to supports this process greatly.
Tackling Doping in Sport, launched in 2008, is organized by World Sports Law Report, supported by UK Anti-Doping and next year's event will again take place at Wembley Stadium between Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 March 2015.