World Sports Law Report’s: Tackling Doping in Sport 2011 (in association with UK Anti-Doping & Squire Sanders Hammonds, 16-17 March, London [DAY 1]

March 20, 2011


If there are any errors or inaccuracies these are from me rather than from the speakers.

Day 1  (

  1. Gene Doping in Sport: Background / history and update of methods of detection. Professor Perikles Simon (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz). The first lecture discussed the growing threat of gene doping within sport (defined as: ‘the abuse of gene transfer technology to enhance athletic performance’). The presentation went on to highlight how gene transfer of certain substances, for example Follistatin, had been demonstrated to significantly increase performance amongst laboratory mice. While research into this area is still ongoing, Professor Simon did suggest that it was possible to develop a test to detect the transgenic human DNA used in gene doping.
  2. Technological Doping: Assessing the competency of sport to regulate technology. Kris Lines (Staffordshire University) & Jon Heshka (Thompson Rivers University). This lecture presented an overview of how technology has been used to enhance sporting performance. Essentially the problem is that sport does not have a consistent and robust framework for regulating or even debating this issue. This leads to inconsistencies both within the same sport (eg the different treatment of clothing / venue design) and externally between different sports. To a certain extent, analogies can be drawn between the current use of technology in sport and the position of chemical doping in the early 1990s. The lecture finally analysed how a possible framework akin to the WADA Code could be used to regulate this area.
  3. Borderline Issues in Anti-Doping: Scientific and Medical Update. Dr Stephane Bermon (IAAF Medical  & Anti-Doping Commission). This lecture analysed how some areas of the prohibited list were not actually black and white, but rather several shades of grey. In particular, the lecture focused on three areas: Blood Spinning (where platelet rich plasma [PRP] could be manipulated through centrifugal force and then re-injected into wound sites to promote faster healing). Interestingly, while Blood spinning is allowed under s2.6 of the 2011 Prohibited List, the individual growth factors contained within PRP are still prohibited if used separately. Prohibition on the use of Hypoxic environments (used to simulate altitude training) was ethically difficult to justify given the benefits that athletes could receive passively from living at altitude.  Whereas all glucocorticosteroids (drugs used to treat inflammation) are prohibited in-competition by the 2011 list when administered by oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal routes, a compelling case was made that the decision to allow glucocorticoids out-of-competition was made on other grounds. 
  4. Keynote Speech – The Future of Anti-Doping. David Howman (World Anti-Doping Agency). The Keynote Speech has been widely reported by the media (; however it is worth highlighting a number of points the Director-General made. The speech discussed how the UNESCO declaration on anti-doping was the fastest ratified international treaty in history, having been ratified by 156 countries (a theme developed later by Elise Auvachez). Several comments then followed that: It was hoped that the next rewrite of the Code would be athlete friendly and simpler; more focus should be placed on the W in WADA (World) and the agency’s interaction across more sports and countries; international sporting federations needed to do more to develop blood doping tests and collection in order to support the development of the biological passport across more sports; some scientists currently turned a blind-eye to borderline cases in order to avoid any potential legal challenge. There were also a number of more controversial suggestions mooted: Should NADOs (National Anti-Doping Organisations) test other countries athletes to prevent any conflict of interest? Should a reward system be introduced for catching drugs cheats? In relation to the British Olympic Association (BOA) policy on lifetime bans for drugs cheats, Howman lamented the fact that Dwain Chambers’ case was decided on process grounds rather than a substantive decision as there was still uncertainty in this area, in particular as to whether this policy amounted to double jeopardy (an extra doping sanction) or was a valid selection policy. It was hoped that the US request for a CAS Advisory Opinion in this area should provide this certainty. The sound-bite that a lot of the media picked up on however was the suggestion that the criminal underground controlled a significant proportion of world sport, in particular that there was evidence that doping control officers had been bribed (a statement that may have implications for London 2012, see Day 2).
  5. Importance of Education. Elise Auvachez (UNESCO). This lecture developed the theme of the UNESCO declaration and UNESCO’s wider role to build anti-doping capacity, advise on policy and to develop an education framework. The Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport was also discussed within this context. The need for such an education policy within schools was brought home strongly with the research that the fastest group of steroid users within the USA were young girls.
  6. Managing Risks of Doping. Sally Munday (England Hockey). This lecture was given by the CEO of England Hockey who having been through two recent anti-doping investigations, has proactively redeveloped their strategy in this area. The lecture brought home the conflict between protecting the rights of the athlete and the integrity of the sport, particularly where an athlete may have tested positive for their A sample, but negative in a subsequent B sample. The new 2010-13 strategy for the sport is a living and evolving document aligned to both the player pathway and UKAD and emphasised the importance of communication, clear roles and responsibilities.
  7. What governing bodies can learn from recent case law. Richard Harry (National Anti-Doping Panel – NADP). This lecture was an analysis of the composition of the National Anti-Doping Panel and its management by Sporting Resolutions UK. The NADP heard 37 cases since April 2008 (from a total of 107 cases heard in the UK during that period). The presentation discussed the breakdown of the yearly statistics for April 2008-March 2011 before drawing some general conclusions that many of the cases dealt with by UKAD concerned social / recreational drugs / stimulants, although the inadvertent use of supplements containing prohibited substances was becoming an increasing problem.
  8. Practical Demonstration of the Doping Control Process. UKAD. Thanks must go to the UKAD team for providing practical demonstrations of the doping control process. Watching a simulated doping sample being collected (well not literally – they used apple juice!) really made the process clear for people who had not undergone or witnessed testing before.
  9. Anti-Doping in Cycling. Pat McQuaid (UCI). This lecture discussed the structure of the UCI (annual budget CHF7.5m), its anti-doping programme (15,699 tests conducted during 2010) and in particular the introduction of the biological passport in cycling (a theme which continued on Day 2) and its advantages and limitations. A number of recent cases involving the passport scheme were also discussed. Pat did not discuss the Contador case in any detail although he did confirm that UCI had been passed the file and had until the end of March to decide whether they wished to appeal the decision of the Spanish Cycling Federation.  
  10. Status during ineligibility: Article 54 FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations. Volker Hesse (VIVA Sports Law). This lecture discussed the FIFA amendment to the WADA eligibility rules following a doping violation. Essentially, while FIFA follows article 10.10.1 of the WADA rules banning participation in organised training or events, it makes provision for footballers to engage in non-competitive activities and training in the final few months prior to the expiration of their ban. FIFA justifies this position by pointing to the fact that individual athletes can resume full competition immediately after the expiration of their ban (Claudia Pechstein is a recent celebrated example of this), while team players would need to re-integrate with the team and regain match practice, effectively prolonging their period away from competition. It would seem though that this policy is not implemented by other team sports such as Cricket, Rugby League and Rugby Union to name just a few, so is this a case of some sports being more equal than others?
  11. Round-table Discussion – Code Review. Led by UKAD Facilitators. This session was an interactive break-out session discussing a number of specific provisions of the WADA Code, in light of its forthcoming review in 2012: Strict Liability; Sanctions; Criteria for the List; Eligibility for training whilst banned; Aggravated / Substantial assistance.
  12. Using Intelligence to Combat Doping: Case Studies from the US. Travis Tygart (USADA). This lecture discussed the role of USADA and its success in combating doping through collaborative partnerships with US Law Enforcement Agencies. Travis was, however, clear to point out that while the USADA mission was to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport and protect the rights of US athletes, its role was not to grow or to raise revenue for sport. What was particularly interesting about the USADA approach was their successful use of evidence other than that of positive test results, and the fact that 90% of American surveyed in a recent report view athletes as role models (a point also corroborated by Hugh Robertson MP on Day 2). A number of the reports mentioned in this speech can be found on the USADA website:
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About Kris

Associate Professor in Sports Law, Staffordshire University; British Gymnastics Senior Coach

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