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Thursday 02, Oct 2014

  Clean Sport Forum 2014 Emphasizes On 2015 Code Implementation

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Over 100 attendees from across the sporting landscape met at Lord’s Cricket Ground on September 25 in London. This meeting was made to discuss preparations for the implementation of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code.

The fourth annual forum provided the opportunity for UK Anti-Doping to update important stakeholders on the recent developments within anti-doping. It also facilitated UK Anti-Doping to communicate best practice advice across a wide range of areas. This one-day event allowed delegates to share their experiences with network, colleagues, and know more about how UK Anti-Doping can help protect their sport.

European and Commonwealth silver medalist Lynsey Sharp spoke about her experiences of the anti-doping system. Lynsey remarked doping has had a massive effect on her career so far, but she looks forward to the positive impact the 2015 Code will have in the years to come.

UKAD Chief Executive Andy Parkinson emphasized on the importance of collective responsibility to make sure successful implementation of the WADA 2015 Code. Delegates, including Commonwealth Games England Deputy Chef de Mission Graeme Dell and England Boxing Chief Executive Mark Abberley, also heard from other speakers about the possible impact of the WADA 2015 Code on their organizations.

UKAD Chief Executive Andy Parkinson also remarked this is a busy time for anti-doping with the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code coming into effect in three months, along with a revised set of UK Anti-Doping Rules. He remarked to implement these changes effectively will require a collective effort from all our partners in the UK, across every sport. The UKAD Chief Executive added this year’s Forum was about ensuring sports have a clear understanding about their responsibility in this process, and take away best practice examples of how to manage the impact of changes. Parkinson also said the enthusiasm of attendees was really positive, particularly during the closed CEO Forum and added it is imperative that this level of interest is maintained so that every sport has an effective anti-doping strategy that will help minimize the risk of doping in the UK.

In another development, sport medical personnel working with some of the leading athletes of the UK met on September 15, 2014 for the inaugural UK Anti-Doping Athlete Support Personnel (ASP) Forum. This forum promotes and encourages transfer of knowledge within the athlete support community. It also ensures that Anti-Doping Athlete Support Personnel recognize and understand their important role in keeping sport clean. UKAD Director of Communications and Education Nicola Newman said UKAD appreciates the vital role athlete support personnel play in promoting the values of clean sport and the trust athletes place in them to provide accurate and clear anti-doping advice. Newman added this Forum was an important opportunity to engage with this group and ensure they appreciate their expanded role and responsibilities ahead of the 2015 Code. British Olympic Association (BOA) Intensive Rehabilitation Unit Manager James Moore said the event has attracted such a wide variety of sports and some of the best people in their disciplines. Moore added he thinks it is great UKAD has initiated this and engaged with this group.

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Sunday 06, Jul 2014

  Sporting Community Must Maintain Its Support For Substantial Assistance

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UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson recently emphasized on the importance of substantial assistance and why sporting community must maintain its support for it in a serious fight against doping.

Parkinson remarked the world will have a new anti-doping Code from January 1, 2015 and the purpose of these rules is to bind sports, anti-doping organizations, athletes and athlete support personnel to an agreed approach to tackling the global problem of doping in sport. The UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive added this New Code reinforces accepted principles and practices from the past decade and introduces new ways in which all those involved in sport can protect athletes at risk of making the wrong decision.

The UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive went on to add that the first thing to recognize is that a doping athlete does not always, or indeed normally, work in isolation and added that all too often we see that the athlete is just the tip of an iceberg of highly profitable and illegal activities. He further remarked this is why we work with law enforcement agencies, to shape our understanding of the trafficking, importation and manufacture of performance-enhancing substances and this information influences how, when and who we might pursue, and where our focus needs to lie and added that sufficient evidence can lead, and has done in many jurisdictions including in the UK, to the successful prosecution of both athletes and their entourage.

Parkinson also said it follows that those that we catch can also provide us with invaluable information and evidence, such as how they sourced doping substances, or who else was involved and this can help us prevent other athletes going down a similar path in the future and can assist all anti-doping organizations in refining their strategies to prevent doping. He also said the Code states that, if the information provided does not result in such an outcome, the suspension can be lifted with the original ban returned and this provision exists in the current rules and will remain largely unchanged from 1 January 2015, except for one significant modification where, in truly exceptional circumstances, the World Anti-Doping Agency may agree the suspension of bans greater than those permitted to be agreed by other anti-doping organizations.

While explaining the role of substantial assistance, Parkinson added we understand that this is sometimes a difficult concept to support, the idea of lessening a doper’s ban in return for information but remarked if we really want to prevent doping, we must recognize that as the end user, the doping athlete may not be exclusively culpable for their activities. He also said athletes regularly tell us that the entourage involved in doping need to be held to account and substantial assistance offers one means to receive the evidence to achieve this aim.

UKAD Chief Executive Andy Parkinson added that recent media coverage shows varying degrees of understanding and acceptance of the World Anti-Doping Code provision for substantial assistance, a tool that allows for credit to be given to athletes and support personnel who assist anti-doping organizations pursue others involved in doping. He said in any such situation, part of a ban imposed on an individual can be suspended on the basis that information provided results in discovering or establishing an anti-doping rule violation or criminal conviction of another person.

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Wednesday 01, Jan 2014

  Sochi 2014 WADA Observer Program To Be Headed By UKAD Chief

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Sochi 2014 WADA Observer Program To Be Headed By UKAD Chief

Andy Parkinson, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, has been named to head the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Observer (IO) Program at Sochi 2014.

Parkinson will lead a team an eight strong team that is responsible to oversee and monitor doping control operations in an unbiased manner at next year’s Winter Games, which get underway in 40 days’ time. Parkinson has been involved in a number of IO programs, including at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics and 2010 Tour de France.

The committee Рmade up of Thierry Boghosian, Fran̤oise Dagouret, Rob Koehler, Mich̬le Mercier, Tim Ricketts, Huw Roberts and Annelies Vandenberghe Рduring Sochi 2014 will observe the test planning and delivery, laboratory analysis, doping control, and results management besides producing a report on their findings following the conclusion of the Games. This committee will also be offering its recommendations for improvements for any events in the future and interact on a daily basis with officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) anti-doping program for highlighting changes if any that require immediate attention.

Parkinson said the WADA IO Program to date has proved an excellent means to help anti-doping organizations learn from major event anti-doping programs operate and improve standards globally. He added that athletes should have confidence that WADA will be attending the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games and that experts from around the world will be on hand to assist both the International Olympic Committee and the Organizing Committee.

The Independent Observer (IO) Program was launched at the invitation of IOC at the Sydney 2000 Summer Games. The World Anti-Doping Agency explained that it is now a much more collaborative exercise than it was during its infancy. Fahey added that WADA works closely with the IOC testing team right throughout the event to ensure that any necessary corrective action or improvements can be made during the event itself. He went on to remark that this daily reporting method, as opposed to the provision of one final report, has been well received in recent IO missions, and helps ensure that an effective and robust testing program is in place.

In another development, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach issued a warning that a positive drugs test would overshadow the achievement of any team at Sochi 2014. Addressing the 42nd European Olympic Committees (EOC) General Assembly, Bach promised that the anti-doping program at Sochi 2014 will be the toughest for any Olympics with 57 per cent more tests, due to be conducted than the 2010 Vancouver Games. Bach told delegates from 49 European countries that they speak with their governments, national federations, and perform pre-competition testing and make sure that they, as National Olympic Committees (NOCs), can be proud of their team in the end. Bach said you can win as many medals as you want in the Olympic Games but if you have a doping case by one of your successful athletes, the image of your team is tainted and so it is in your own interest to arrive in Sochi with clean athletes.

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Thursday 27, Jun 2013

  BOA Lifetime Ban On Drugs Cheats Is Impending UKAD Work

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BOA Lifetime Ban On Drugs Cheats Is Impending UKAD Work

The chief executive of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), Andy Parkinson, has warned that the lifetime ban on drug cheats by the British Olympic Association (BOA) is impeding the battle to stamp out the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport.

The new rule of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on banning an athlete from competing in the next Games after they have tested positive was also criticized by Parkinson who said it would be easier if everyone followed the standards set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which have established a suspension of two years as the fairest penalty for an athlete testing positive for banned drugs for the first time. Parkinson added that we seen in the United States and also in the United Kingdom how going beyond the anti-doping rules established by WADA creates confusion and impedes our role and also said the World Anti-Doping Code, agreed at an international level, encourages athletes to provide substantial assistance which can be grounds for a reduction in the sanction period.

Any athlete who tests positive for banned drugs is automatically prevented from representing Britain in the Olympics, under the rules of the BOA but the Britain’s anti-doping chief believes that athletes would be more willing to cooperate with them if there was an incentive for them to be allowed to compete in the Olympics.

Parkinson said if, as is the case with the eligibility rules of the International Olympic Committee and here in the UK the British Olympic Association, we remove all incentives for athletes to share their stories and information with us, then we will continue to struggle to catch those who are supplying performance enhancing drugs and often operate on the edges of sport with relative impunity and it is clear that this is a hard message to get across and to agree on, largely because these eligibility rules are easy to defend, but if we cannot be seen to be working with all athletes, then what hope do we have in really getting to the heart of the doping problem and to those that traffic and supply. He also added that the fight against doping now more than ever requires a mature and coordinated effort to work together and UK Anti-Doping has firmly established itself in its first year and offers the chance to continue to play a lead role at home and overseas to better protect the rights of athletes to compete in doping-free sport.

The views of Parkinson echoed that of Dick Pound who claimed in 2008 that he did not believe that the BOA rule would survive, if it was challenged legally.

Since 1992, by-law 25 has been on the BOA’s statute book when it was decided by the then chairman Sir Arthur Gold that Britain must take the moral high ground in the fight against doping. The British Olympic Association is now the only national Olympic committee to maintain this hard-line stance but have always maintained that it will “vigorously” defend any attempt to remove the anti-doping by-law.

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Tuesday 25, Jun 2013

  â€˜Insane’ Tests At London Olympics Queried By Doping Chief

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‘Insane’ Tests At London Olympics Queried By Doping Chief

Andy Parkinson, chief executive of UK anti-doping, has labeled the amount of tests carried out at the London Olympics as “insane” after 5,000 tests in three weeks led to just nine positive findings during the London Games of which only three were from athletes tested during their competitions – the other six were out-of-competition tests.

Parkinson is the first Chief Executive of UK Anti-Doping and was appointed to the position in August 2009 and headed up the anti-doping operation at UK Sport as Director of Drug-Free Sport and prior to this held the position of Head of Operations. Andy, before joining UK Sport in 2006, was Medical and Scientific Director at the International Paralympic Committee and was elected as Chair of the Ad hoc European Committee in May 2012 for the World Anti-Doping Agency (CAHAMA), effective from November 2012.

Britain’s anti-doping chief called for Olympic organizers to be allowed to test competing athletes in the months leading up to Games rather than in the three-week period of the event. He added the resources can be better deployed and five thousand is an insane amount of samples in just three weeks of the Games, and six out of the nine positive tests were before the athlete took to the field of play and remarked if you said the London Olympic Games has 5,000 samples but spread over three months that has to be a much better use of resource and a better use of money and most of us would accept if there is doping occurring then it is before the event itself.

The anti-doping chief also remarked that the ongoing review of World Anti-Doping Code could allow major event organizers to extend their jurisdiction for the months in advance of the Games and the challenge you have got is organizing committees who want their programs to be judged as of high quality and the way they do that is numerically and pointed out that Sochi’s anti-doping director announced last week that 2,500 drug tests will be conducted at next year’s Winter Olympics, about 350 more than at the 2010 Games.

Parkinson added that the Lance Armstrong doping scandal was an eye opener and wake-up call for those who relied solely on traditional tests at events and remarked Lance never returned a positive test and we need to be thinking very differently if we are going to catch serial cheats. He went on to add that he was encouraged the IOC president Jacques Rogge has backed quality over quantity in terms of tests, but that organizing committees would have to be carefully watched to ensure they did not use this simply as an excuse to save money. The Britain’s anti-doping chief also described as “astonishing” that a Spanish judge had ordered blood bags seized during the Operation Puerto doping investigation to be destroyed and said rather astonishingly the judge said all the blood bags are to be destroyed – that’s to put it mildly a shame and not the best example of how law enforcement can work with anti-doping authorities. The judge’s decision is still the subject of ongoing legal action by Spanish anti-doping authorities who want the blood analyzed.

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