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Archive for  April 2015

Friday 10, Apr 2015

Slovakia Getting Ready For Regulation Of Steroid Sales

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Slovakia Getting Ready For Regulation Of Steroid Sales

Slovakia has started preparing legislative measures to regulate the market of anabolics and anabolic steroids. Presently, it is the only European Union country that does not regulate steroid sales.

At a joint press conference with Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar on April 2, Economy Minister Pavol Pavlis discussed the plans to regulate sale of anabolic steroids. The Minister said we can’t allow anybody to be able to buy anywhere, products that can seriously damage the health of people, mainly the young and added that we must get this under control – what’s being sold, by whom, how, and where.

Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar said the Penal Code will be adjusted to assist policemen in taking against the people who do business with these “quasi drugs”. He added the punishments should include prison sentences of up to 15 years and said the goal is to create an effective mechanism to take action against illegal business in medicines, which currently appears to be a problem mainly when it comes to internet sales.

According to a National Criminal Agency (NAKA) 2014 report published on March 16, mild legislation allows the sale of anabolic steroids to adults who want to become big and handsome. The report on the state of the Slovak drugs scene revealed that the Slovak steroid market thrives and even attracts foreigners. It was further added that criminals from the Czech Republic obtain the listed substances even in the territory of Slovakia.

The country has been experiencing a massive surge in the number of illegal internet pharmacies offering anabolic androgenic steroids or counterfeit drugs. In Slovakia, anabolic steroids belong to category of the most abused illegal substances. Under the existing laws, legislation punishes only those who supply children under 18-years-old with steroids for non-medical purposes. The report disclosed that production and possession of such substances in huge quantities is punishable in the Czech Republic. According to the report and statistics, it is very difficult for someone to prove that steroids are being abused. Since 2012, only case of a criminal act of offering anabolic substances to a youth has been registered.

Recently, detectives from the Czech National Anti-Drug Centre (NPC) uncovered an organized group that was selling anabolic steroids and substances with hormonal effect, said spokeswoman Barbora Kudláčková. The suspicion relates to the shipment of substances from Slovakia to the Czech Republic and some more European countries. Last year, custom officers detained two illegal consignments with anabolic steroids worth over 2.5 million Kč.

Andrej Sukel, the President of the Slovak Chamber of Pharmacists, commented that steroid abuse in men can result in degenerative changes in testes while female may experience excessive hairiness and children using steroids could suffer from stoppage of linear bone growth.

It is widely believed that anti-doping paragraph of the Slovakian Penal Code should also be amended. Presently, only those who offer forbidden substances to under-aged persons or to athletes who are competing at organized sporting events face punishment. The new paragraph must stipulate punishment for anybody who uses anabolics to increase athletic performance.

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Wednesday 08, Apr 2015

Russian Olympic Team Now Clean, Says New Coach

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Russian Olympic Team Now Clean, Says New Coach

Yury Borzakovsky, who was recently appointed as head coach of the Russian athletics team, has remarked we have a new team and everyone in it is clean. The former Olympic 800m champion recently took over after Valentin Maslakov resigned in the wake of latest doping scandals of Russia, bringing to an end his 24-year reign.

Borzakovsky, who won gold in the 800m at the 2004 Olympics, said the athletes even have a certain fear of the management and of me personally. The 33-year-old head coach also commented that he has made sure the guys understand that it’s finished, that that page has been turned. Borzakovsky also remarked that our anti-doping service is working really well and said we are planning to hold anti-doping workshops at every national team training camp in the future.

The newly-appointed coach also said that he is sure that all of the country’s athletes understand clearly that the past should remain in the past. The athlete-turned-coach, who also won two silver and two bronze medals at world championships between 2003-11, also said discipline in the national squad will be much stricter and went on to add that the athletes and their coaches will report to me on their work done every month.

Borzakovsky also said he is ready to take complete responsibility for the national squad’s performances. Borzakovsky said he believes he has a clear view of the situation in the country’s athletics and totally accept his personal responsibility for the national team’s performance.

Russia is fighting hard against doping positives and allegations. In a German television documentary, it was claimed that 99% of Russian athletes were doping. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) are looking into these allegations.

In the recent past, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) suspended race walkers Valeriy Borchin, Olga Kaniskina, Sergey Bakulin, Sergey Kirdyapkin and Vladimir Kanaykin, and steeplechaser Yuliya Zaripova after abnormalities were found in their IAAF biological passports. It however decided to take away some medals but did not strip them of any Olympic medals. The IAAF is appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the “selective disqualification of results“.

Russia’s influential Sports Ministry is supporting the Russian anti-doping agency, said deputy minister Yuri Nagornykh. The deputy minister in sports ministry said our lawyers consider that what RUSADA did with regards to this issue was right and added specialists will study this situation and the issue will be decided in the legal field and added that in order to say something definite, it is firstly necessary to wait for the relevant documentation from the IAAF and to study them attentively.

In March this year, Vitaly Melnikov was banned for two years after testing positive for EPO during the European Short-Course Championships in Herning in December 2013. FINA, the international governing body of swimming, decided that the swimmer tested positive to the substance Erythropoietin – EPO (Class S.2 Peptides Hormones, Growth Factors and related Substances) and imposed an ineligibility period of two years, starting on December 12, 2013 and ending at the conclusion of the December 12, 2015 for his first anti-doping rule violation.

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Monday 06, Apr 2015

Anti-Doping Agencies Around The World Support ASADA Chief

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Anti-Doping Agencies Around The World Support ASADA Chief

Messages of support have been pouring in for Ben McDevitt, chief of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), after the precedent set by the not-guilty verdict for the Essendon doping scandal where all 34 former and current players of the club were held not guilty.

The heads of anti-doping agencies in the UK, US, France, and Germany contacted McDevitt with messages of support, which may raise the possibility of appeal. McDevitt also received support from the current federal sports minister, Sussan Ley, and her predecessor, Peter Dutton.

McDevitt has just over two weeks to appeal the judgment. ASADA is expected to release its findings on Dank after the Easter break. The World Anti-Doping Agency has a further 21 days to appeal after the deadline of ASADA expires and is expected to take its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a body chaired by IOC vice-president and AOC president, John Coates.

The AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal found it was not comfortably satisfied that former and current Essendon players committed the anti-doping rule violation of use of the prohibited substance, Thymosin Beta 4, during the 2012 season. The Tribunal was however “comfortably satisfied” under rule 16.1 of the anti-doping code that Shane Charter,  a self-styled anti-ageing consultant who arranged for the importation of peptides supplied to Essendon in December 2011, sourced what he believed to be Thymosin beta 4 from China. The tribunal refused to be satisfied that that pharmacist Nima Alavi compounded what he believed to be the drug and gave 26 vials of what he believed to be the same drug to Stephen Dank.

Lawyer Natalie Hickey, who has followed the case closely, remarked it is impossible and unfair even to attempt answering this without access to the detailed reasons. Natalie added the better question is whether the AFL appeals board would bring fresh eyes, and different life experiences, to the evidence, with the prospect of a different point of view. Natalie also remarked that the Bombers were charged under clause 11.2 of the old code but this is now clause 10.2 under the revised code and added that the new code changes the approach the appeals board will take to an appeal, depending on the nature of the charges laid. Hickey also commented that the amendment of another clause may mean that “the task for ASADA on appeal would be easier.”

Hickey also said those new provisions enable the appeals board essentially to consider matters afresh, in what is called a ‘de novo’ hearing and said the appeals board need not defer to the discretion of the AFL tribunal. Natalie also said the prior proceedings also do not limit the evidence or carry weight in the hearing before the appeals board and added the standard of proof the appeals board must apply is also ‘comfortable satisfaction’.”

Meanwhile, AFL chief Gillon McLachlan and Essendon chairman Paul Little have already expressed their hope that ASADA does not appeal so that the Australian Football League can be free of the controversy that has clouded it for more than two years.

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Saturday 04, Apr 2015

Stephen Dank To Reportedly Sue ASADA

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Stephen Dank To Reportedly Sue ASADA

Controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank has reportedly remarked that he will sue the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and its chief executive Ben McDevitt for defamation in the wake of the Essendon doping scandal.

The sports scientist said his lawyers will take action against ASADA and McDevitt after the anti-doping agency said it was evaluating the option of appealing against decision of the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal to clear 34 former and current Essendon players of all charges. McDevitt accused Dank in a press conference of sending mixed messages about whether there were records of what injections Essendon players were administered. McDevitt remarked no party has disputed that Stephen Dank played a central and critical role, the lead role in administering the injections.

The ASADA Chief Executive also remarked Stephen Dank has publicly stated that extensive records of the injection regime were kept but, throughout this investigation, no such records have been found. McDevitt also said that Dank curiously in a statutory declaration provided to ASADA, in response to a disclosure notice, declared he had no documents to produce and added that all the evidence that he have seen probably would indicate if there were records, they would be shambolic and chaotic.

McDevitt also went on to remark that the case is not yet closed and Essendon players took banned drugs in a 2012 injection program.

Meanwhile, Australian Health Minister Sussan Ley said regardless of the tribunal’s verdict, the initial report found an experimental environment that was never adequately controlled. She said any injection of unknown substances into athletes in order to push the boundaries of sporting achievement is unacceptable and added it shows a complete disregard for player safety and welfare.

The ASADA head however admitted that the anti-doping agency had powers to force Dank to testify.

Recently, Dank said ASADA had been very, very poor in their conduct, execution and understanding of this whole investigation. The scientist said the players never took anything that was illegal or anything that was against the WADA-prohibited list and added the players were not guilty of anything and he is very happy for the players.

McDevitt said findings of the upcoming decision by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal on the role of Dank in the supplements program some time after Easter would not determine whether the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority lodges an appeal but they might have some influence. The chief executive said we eagerly await that component from the tribunal because Stephen Dank was the alleged architect here and so it will be very interesting to see what the findings are, and what the reasons behind those findings are from the tribunal and also commented that it will certainly enable us to make a more informed decision on our appeal.

Steven Amendola, the lawyer who represented James Hird throughout the scandal, said Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority chief executive Ben McDevitt, his AFL opposite number Gillon McLachlan, most of the AFL Commission, and AFL competition integrity manager Brett Clothier should all submit their resignations over the ordeal.

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Thursday 02, Apr 2015

Essendon Doping Investigation Criticized By John Fahey

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Essendon Doping Investigation Criticized By John Fahey

Former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey has remarked that the Essendon doping investigation that stretched for more than two years was very strange and cumbersome.

Fahey however denied that the investigations are an indictment on the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA). Fahey said on ABC News Radio there have been months and months and months of inaction whilst court actions were taken by the Essendon club and their coach to prevent the inquiry actually taking place – that was the delay.

     The ex-WADA Chief also said that he would like to see an examination of the regulations because there is a very cumbersome process in place in this country. Fahey also said he had not seen it taking place anywhere else where we can see so many preliminary steps taken before we can actually get to an inquiry and that to him is very unsatisfactory.

The former World Anti-Doping Agency President also said the Essendon club escaped liability despite it being apparent that players did receive injections. Fahey commented there were needles given to numerous players and in this instance they were not satisfied that the drug inside was the one that is on the prohibited list and added that the tragedy for him in all of this is that the Worksafe Victoria department didn’t look at what this meant from an employer-employee relationship.

The investigation was also criticized by Stephen Amendola, the lawyer for Essendon coach James Hird. Amendola remarked there should be a judicial inquiry into the entire investigation and went on to add that reputations have been trashed. Amendola added participation of the AFL compromised the independence of ASADA’s investigation. The lawyer for Essendon coach James Hird said the whole supplements investigation should be subject to a judicial inquiry.

Meanwhile, Chief executive of Australia’s anti-doping watchdog Ben McDevitt has said ASADA would decide on whether to appeal after carefully examining the report. McDevitt also insisted that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority is not the enemy and said the fight against doping was not a fight against sport. McDevitt added every time an Australian athlete gets set to compete, whether it be at the Olympics or in a junior sport, whether it be at a team sport or at an individual level, our expectation is that the rights of clean athletes to compete against other clean athletes must be protected and said some may find this hard to believe.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have 21 days to lodge an appeal. WADA director general David Howman said it would consider its options, depending on the actions of ASADA. Howman remarked the matter now rests with the anti-doping organization concerned and other associated bodies to decide whether or not to exercise their rights of appeal. He added once fully reviewed by all parties concerned, and following receipt of the full case file on the tribunal’s ruling, WADA will review the reasons for the decision and determine whether or not to exercise its own right of appeal.

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