Cookson calls for collective responsibility in anti-doping

UCI president argues that unity is key to the anti-doping effort

As cycling braces itself for the findings of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), UCI president Brian Cookson has stressed his belief that the notion of collective responsibility is central to the future of the fight against doping in the sport.

He envisages a model which involves all stakeholders in the anti-doping effort, with everyone held accountable and clear about where they stand.

"The responsibility should not lie solely with the UCI and the anti-doping authorities," he told L'Equipe. "We must all get along within a framework defined by the rules – the UCI, riders, teams, race organisers, manufacturers.

"There is an economic imperative to do so and even the most cynical person can appreciate the moral and ethical dimensions."

In this respect, he highlights the importance of the new WADA code, introduced in January, which, along with other changes, will see a team sanctioned if it has two doping cases in twelve months.

"The new code signals major progress in moving from individual responsibility to collective responsibility," he said. "The team bosses will be more accountable."

With the findings of CIRC imminent, Cookson doesn't expect many revelations – "we know just about everything," he argues – but instead hopes for recommendations and guidelines that will allow for genuine progress.

"We want to be able to look at what happened in order to avoid falling into the same traps. We would also like to have some guidelines to help us, for example, with defining who is a fit and proper person to work in or around a team – bosses, coaches, directeurs sportifs, doctors etc. We need clear ethical criteria that allow for a proper assessment."

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