The chair of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Damian Collins MP, has told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that a “cloud hangs over one of our greatest Olympians” and that he is in favour of criminalising doping within the United Kingdom.
Colllins’ comments come after UK-Anti Doping published its report at the end of a 14-month investigation into a potential doping violation involving British Cycling, Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2011. The case centred on the contents of a medical package that was ordered by Team Sky, couriered by British Cycling, and then administered to Bradley Wiggins at the race by Team Sky/British Cycling doctor, Richard Freeman.
Despite over a year of enquiries, and 37 witness statements, UKAD could not determine the contents of the package and whether it contained a decongestant, as Team Sky claimed, or the corticosteroid it was alleged to carry. UKAD found that there were serious concerns but that their efforts were hampered by the fact that medical records had not been kept or were stolen.
Collins, who had previously told the press that the reputations of both British Cycling and Team Sky ‘lay in tatters’, told the Telegraph that UKAD’s finding, or lack thereof, was “not an exoneration of anyone”.
“I think it clearly shows that UKAD does not have the powers it needs and I've been very clear on this. UKAD currently relies on people's willingness to cooperate. It has no legal authority to compel anyone to speak," Collins said.
When asked whether doping should be criminalised in the UK, Collins added: “I think so. I was very struck by the evidence [former rider] Nicole Cooke gave to the select committee when she said that in those countries where doping is illegal, they have much more effective investigations.
“This is not an exoneration of anyone. What’s clear from UKAD's statement is if Sky and British Cycling had kept proper medical records, this could have been wrapped up a lot sooner. It is unacceptable. A cloud now hangs over one of our greatest Olympians.”