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Wednesday 11, Feb 2015

  More Governments Need To Make Doping Illegal, Says WADA Chief

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Sir Craig Reedie, the president of the World Anti Doping Agency, has called on world governments to criminalize doping. Reedie said acting in this way would play an important role to prevent current problems that are escalating and spilling over into everyday society.

In a WADA statement, Reedie requested for an escalation of preventative measures and said sport is now a hugely lucrative industry, and there is a real area of concern with drugs being counterfeited, illegally produced, trafficked, and distributed – and ultimately these drugs get in the hands of elite athletes and, increasingly, members of the public. He further added police will act and the scourge of doping can be prevented if governments can introduce relevant laws, and applicable penalties to combat this abuse of substances.

Reedie and WADA Director General David Howman were part of the Second International Conference on the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Fight against Doping last week that was co-hosted by the World Anti Doping Agency, as well as by others including UNESCO, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports, Science & Technology, and the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA).

The WADA head also remarked there should be exchange of information between various organizations to ensure details gathered in one country can be of use to another. He remarked evidence is rife that athletes will go to unthinkable lengths to find shortcuts to success, and it’s now up to proponents of clean sport – be they anti-doping organizations, governments, public health organizations or even law enforcement agencies – to share information that stops prohibited substances from getting in the wrong hands.

Reedie also remarked doping substances are no longer just of use to elite athletes, but to high school students who want to increase their strength or the older generations who long for the ‘fountain of youth.’ He also said these types of substances are not approved and they have not gone through the required health checks and to put simply, we do not always know from where these dubious substances originate. The WADA chief added the internet means that these substances are increasingly easy to access, and that in itself is a concern and also remarked however the danger that these substances pose to public health has, in the partnerships the anti-doping community and pharmaceutical industry are now forming, a real answer in place.

Reedie also outlined the importance of the current cooperation between WADA and other anti-doping bodies along with big drug companies. In the past, these kinds of associations have benefited the UCI, the world governing body of cycling, and others to detect new products like the blood booster CERA. During the 2008 Tour de France, the UCI was able to identify Riccardo Ricco, Stefan Schumacher, and others for CERA use. The WADA chief said this kind of collaboration is essential and gave references about the former partnerships already in place with companies such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Amgen, as well as federations like the IFPMA [International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations].

Some countries such as France, Spain, and Italy have already criminalized the abuse of doping products. The World Anti Doping Agency is not seeking to criminalize doping athletes themselves, but rather those who facilitate their drug use.

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Thursday 11, Dec 2014

  WADA Not Supportive Of Jail Term For Doping Cheats

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WADA Not Supportive Of Jail Term For Doping Cheats

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has remarked that it does not support the imposition of criminal sanctions on cheating athletes despite it in the favor of a tougher code that will come into effect on January 1 next year.

The new WADA Code will punish first-time offenders with four-year bans instead of two years of suspension. It also puts a greater emphasis on investigation and gathering intelligence.

Sir Craig Reedie, WADA President and former chairman of the British Olympic Association, made this comment after a three-year sentence for doping offenders was proposed by a draft German law. Reedie said dopers should only be sanctioned within the rules of their sport and added a custodial sentence is not appropriate. He remarked an athlete should be sanctioned under the sports rules which have been developed over many years and he should not be sanctioned under Criminal Law.

Reedie, speaking at a members’ meeting, also insisted that the World Anti-Doping Agency is working closely with the Brazilian anti-doping organization to make sure that the quality of tests at Rio 2016 are adequate. Reedie said it is important that we have the laboratory in Rio re-accredited so it doesn’t make any mistakes. The WADA President added it made some mistakes, which is why it lost its accreditation and added but nothing would be worse for athletes than to take part in the competition when they knew there was any question of wrong results from a laboratory that we used to test the samples. Last year, the credentials of the drug-testing laboratory in Rio de Janeiro were revoked by WADA as it failed to comply with the agency’s standards. The revocation forced FIFA, the world governing body of football, to turn to a Switzerland lab for the analysis of the 2014 World Cup samples.

It was also announced by WADA that pledges for the creation of an anti-doping research fund reached more than US$10 million (S$13 million) that match the financial investment made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). WADA announced pledges from the Ivory Coast, Japan, Qatar, Russia, France, Sweden and Peru, joining Turkey, South Korea, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United States. These countries were named by WADA as donors for its research fund that will be beneficial for exploring new techniques for the detection of prohibited substances and methods. Therefore, the joint project will have a budget of about US$20 million.

Reedie also commented on the growing incidents of doping in Kenya. The African country has experienced a dramatic increase in doping cases. This year, Rita Jeptoo was among the high-profile cheats. The Kenyan marathon runner tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), which is used by strength athletes and cyclists to improve the production of red blood cells in the body. Reedie said WADA officials recently met their Kenyan counterparts to help them establish the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya with Chinese and Norwegian agencies providing technical training and guidance. Reedie also commented that Kenya produces many of the very best middle- and long-distance runners in the world and it is very much in Kenya’s interest to have this treated properly.

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Monday 08, Sep 2014

  China Commits US$10 Million In Anti-Doping Research

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China Commits US$10 Million In Anti-Doping Research

China has become the first country to formally announce an investment of US$10 million in anti-doping research following the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) pledge to its member nations for their contribution to a government equivalent fund.

The IOC President Thomas Bach in December 2013 announced that the organization would invest US $10 million to fund innovative athlete-centered anti-doping research, which would include new techniques for detecting prohibited substances and methods, and further called on governments to match the amount. WADA President Sir Craig Reedie since then has been encouraging world governments to pledge their own support to protect clean athletes by making commitments before 16 November to make contributions that will help raise the total research fund for the joint IOC / WADA initiative to US $20 million.

The Vice Premier of State Council for China, Ms. Liu Yandong, has become the first national government leader to commit support by contributing $1M to the cause. Sir Craig Reedie remarked WADA is hugely appreciative of the support shown from the Chinese government in contributing to this fund for innovative anti-doping research and added that this marks a significant step forward for the anti-doping community. The WADA President added the IOC’s initial commitment to the research, and the signal sent by the Chinese government, provides an excellent example of how sport and government can work together for the greater anti-doping good and, importantly, to help give athletes the level playing field they so deserve.

Sir Reedie also added following a very productive personal meeting on a wide range of anti-doping matters with the Vice Premier of China, Ms. Liu Yandong, he would like to offer my thanks to her government and also to Mr. Liu Peng, the Minister for Sport for China and President of the Chinese Olympic Committee, for their strong demonstrations of support in the protection of the rights of clean athletes. China has led the way and set an example for other national governments to follow. The WADA chief added over the coming weeks, as the IOC’s 16 November deadline approaches, he will continue to engage governments and encourage them to follow China’s lead so that we can keep sport clean for all athletes.

IOC President, Thomas Bach said it is vital for the future of sport that we protect the clean athletes and that is why he so warmly welcomes this contribution by the Chinese government. Bach urged other governments to follow suit and match the ten million dollars the IOC has provided to improve anti-doping research and added without clean athletes there can be no credible competition, and without credible competition sport will also cease to be attractive to spectators and fans and would ultimately wither and die.

Vice Premier of China, Ms. Liu Yandong said she would like to thank WADA for its significant contribution to the development of anti-doping in China over the course of many years. Sport is an integral part of social development. Ms. Yandong added the Chinese government always attaches great importance to the development of sport and its instrumental role in society, and anti-doping plays a critical role in the healthy development of the Olympic Movement. She also remarked the Chinese government is continuously committed to the fight against doping in sport, and the promotion of clean sport and upholding a “zero tolerance” of doping.

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Tuesday 05, Aug 2014

  WADA President Comments On Doping In Tennis And Football

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WADA President Comments On Doping In Tennis And Football

Sir Craig Reedie, President of WADA since January 2014, recently expressed his opinion on the fight against doping in the future.

Reedie, the former Chairman of the British Olympic Association, remarked sport in the main, and certainly elite sport in the main, is believed and trusted by spectators. The WADA President remarked he does not think anyone could have watched the recent World Cup without realizing that that was real and well organized. He added if you look back to the London Olympic Games, he thinks Olympic sports came out of London in as good a position as it has been for years and there has been very little doping activity in either of these two events.

Reedie, a member of the Order of the British Empire, is still a serving representative on the International Olympic Committee.

Recently, FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer Jiri Dvorak admitted that there is an urgent need to change detection strategies in football. WADA recommends blood testing figure should be 10 percent while just over 2 per cent of doping controls in football are done via blood testing. Reedie remarked he discussed this with Jiri Dvorak when he was in Rio for the FIFA Congress. He remarked FIFA tests at its own events which would be the World Cup and the Confederations Cup and almost all the other tests are done by national football associations. The WADA chief also said so FIFA are encouraging them to be more proactive in what they do and also remarked secondly, in this World Cup, they pre-tested every player before they came to Rio and that’s a good thing. He also commented that they’re also developing a blood passport program and that one needs to be developed a little further than simply the players who went to Rio.

Reedie, while commenting on doping control in tennis, Reedie said where he knows tennis has been criticized is comments made by some of the very senior players, who actually say ‘we want more’ and added he is pretty confident that the testing program that they operate is effective for the sport and is run by people who take the challenge seriously.

Reedie also remarked he believes the world governing body of cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is taking doping in cycling seriously in comparison to the Lance Armstrong era. During last year’s Tour, there were no positive tests and this year’s Tour de France has been largely free of the doping stains. The WADA President said it is good to know that cycling has finally decided to come clean with anti-doping unit of the UCI made independent. He explained that there have been past evidence of a new Erythropoietin (EPO) which is called Continuous erythropoietin receptor activator (CERA) and remarked we knew about that and the information came from the pharmaceutical industry. He added a test was developed and we didn’t tell anybody and some cyclists tested positive for CERA. On the subject of bans, Reedie said he believes sanctions have to be proportionate, with life bans potentially subject to challenge in the court.

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Tuesday 10, Jun 2014

  No Excuse Policy For Athletes Caught Doping, Says WADA President

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No Excuse Policy For Athletes Caught Doping, Says WADA President

Sir Craig Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has issued a warning to Glasgow 2014 competitors to beware of the dangers of supplements. Reedie said testers adopt a ‘no excuses’ policy and expressed frustration with athletes who continue to put their trust in unregulated nutritional shakes and mixes.

The former British Olympic Association chairman said he can understand why athletes take these things, because they will do anything to get an edge and improve their performance but it is extremely dangerous. Reedie added he means there is a clearly an issue at the moment with supplements and the supplements business the world over is almost entirely unregulated. The WADA President added it is important to get control of what people put in these things, because athletes will keep taking supplements. He went on to add that very experienced athletes take them – and, in many ways, they shouldn’t and if they must take them, they have to make sure that what they are taking is absolutely clear.

Reedie brought forward the example of a German athlete in Sochi, someone who had been to two Olympic Games, should know exactly what she was doing but one of her friends said: “Oh, you should take this supplement” and so she used it. Reedie added it is that kind of occasional weakness that can cause a real problem and if they are determined to take supplements, they should know that they are clean. The WADA chief added the new world-wide code coming into place next year will deal rather more accurately with what you would describe as minor offences but basically the principle of strict liability still applies.

Nicola Newman, UKAD’s director of communications and education, said our two aims are never to get a positive test at a major event from a British athlete and to stop a serious doper from competing. Nicola added that is our goal, although we can’t guarantee it. The UKAD’s director of communications and education added “No excuses” is another phrase for us and we don’t want anybody to feel they lacked the knowledge they needed and went on to add that we are working really hard with federations and sports to make sure they all understand the risks. Nicola also remarked that the ongoing message that we’re giving to these athletes is predominantly around not making a mistake or getting a positive test because they didn’t understand. Newman added we worked with some of these sports in Delhi (the last Commonwealth Games, in 2010) and some of them were incredibly nervous about the implications of providing a sample so we ran mock testing with them. It was added that we showed them exactly what happens and it is not necessarily normal but it’s definitely necessary.

UK Anti-Doping will run the testing program in Glasgow and it will deliver a mandatory education program to all Home Nations teams during the run-in to the Games. All athletes selected to compete at the Games, as well as more than 200 coaches, must sign up to the education program of UK Anti-Doping. This is made necessary for ensuring that they do not make an innocent mistake by taking an illegal supplement or medication.

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Friday 03, Jan 2014

  Powell Doping Case Needs To Speed Up

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Powell doping case needs to speed up

Sir Craig Reedie, the new president of World Anti-Doping Association, has urged the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission for a speedy resolution in the case of Asafa Powell, the former 100 meters world-record holder.

In June last year, Powell tested positive for the banned substance Oxilofrine at the Jamaican national trials but it is not expected to face a disciplinary hearing before this month. Sherone Simpson, a three-time Olympic medalist and a member of Powell’s training group, also tested positive for the same drug.

Powell, the Jamaican sprinter who specializes in the 100 meters, held the 100 m world record between June 2005 and May 2008, with times of 9.77 and 9.74 seconds respectively. The 30-year-old Powell insisted he had done nothing wrong and remarked he had never knowingly or willfully taken any supplements or substances that break any rules. He added the positive doping test has left him completely devastated and he is reeling from this genuinely surprising result. Powell also remarked his fault is not cheating but instead not being more vigilant and said he wanted to reiterate that in his entire career as an athlete he had never sought to enhance his performance with any substance, and said it is not a part of who he is or what he believes in.

Reedie remarked Jamaica has taken too long for dealing with the Asafa Powell doping case. Reedie, who is also an International Olympic Committee Vice-President, took over as WADA President on January 1, 2014 and said there are a few cases ongoing in Jamaica, one of them a very high-profile one, and one of the issues is that it is taking too long to come to a conclusion. Reedie added he has been under a cloud and if he has broken the rules then sport wants the case finalized, if he hasn’t then he wants the cloud lifted.

A few weeks back, Reedie met new JADCO chief executive Carey Brown in Montreal and said he believes Jamaica is improving its testing regime after disclosures that only one out-of-competition test was conducted in the six months leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The WADA President added the World Anti-Doping Agency has been asked to go to Jamaica and help them with their structure and the sports minister has announced extra money for testing so one hopes they have got the message. He went on to add that the island country relied heavily in the past on the International Association of Athletics Federations, especially for out-of-competition tests. Sir Craig Reedie also believes that the clouds of suspicion should not be directed at current 100m world record-holder Usain Bolt or any Jamaican sprinter just because others have tested positive.

The WADA chief added people have to understand that Jamaica is not a test-free zone but they probably have relied too often on the IAAF’s (International Athletics Federation) efforts and added he knows from the IAAF figures that he [Bolt] has been tested very regularly throughout 2013 and before. Reedie also said all of the top Jamaican athletes have been tested regularly by the international federation.

In 2013, high jumper Demar Robinson, discus throwers Allison Randall and Traves Smikle were under investigation for failed tests but none of them have received a disciplinary hearing or the final verdict.

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Monday 18, Nov 2013

  WADA Doubles Ban For First Offence To 4 Years

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Wada doubles ban for first offence to 4 years

The World Anti-Doping Agency has passed a rule that will keep drug cheats out of at least one Olympics. This was after WADA doubled the ban for a first offence from two years to four.

The anti-doping agency also passed a rule under which athletes will be offered possible immunity from punishment in return for “substantial” information on doping. This rule is expected to provide an incentive to cyclists to testify in a planned inquiry into their sport’s drug-stained past. The principle will apply only to current cyclists, not banned cyclists including American rider Lance Armstrong. After an extensive investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong was banned for life in 2012 and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. The cyclist was implicated and punished despite never failing a doping test.

Outgoing World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey said if you can bring about a greater good with the cooperation you give, then there ought to be some encouragement for you. He added it would be judged on a case-by-case basis and dealt with in the most conscientious way. Fahey added we are now equipped to go forward in the best possible way with a set of rules and it’s a good day for sport, for athletes and for our future. He also added that he firmly believes that the revised code will put the interest of clean athletes as the number one priority. Fahey also remarked we must turn those words, those intentions, into action. Fahey told delegates in Johannesburg that the executive committee unanimously endorsed and agreed to approve the code and the standards.

Under the new updates, WADA will have strengthened powers of punishing athlete support personnel, the trainers, coaches, and officials that assist in doping. In the past coaches and officials were not subject to the same anti-doping rules as athletes.

WADA also elected IOC Vice-President Craig Reedie of Britain as the next President to take over on January 1 while Makhenkesi Stofile of South Africa will be the new Vice-President.

The incoming WADA president said he certainly hopes that the higher sanctions become a much more regular fact of life. IOC President Thomas Bach said the new measures are an excellent step forward and the IOC welcomes any improvement in the fight against doping and it is a much-improved code but it alone is not enough.

The anti-doping agency also extended the period of statute of limitations from eight to 10 years, which will allow statute of limitations will be extended from eight to 10 years. The code will take effect on January 1, 2015, in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. This code will ensure that athletes found guilty of intentional doping miss the next games.

A post-conference declaration urged for extra resources for the World Anti-Doping Agency, co-funded by the Olympic movement and governments, and for more anti-doping legislation to be adopted by governments. The declaration said governments of countries without a national anti-doping organization are encouraged to establish one or join a regional anti-doping organization.

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