DCMS select committee may yet call further hearings

'You can never say that it's 'case closed'' MP tells Cyclingnews

Two weeks after the DCMS Parliamentary select committee report into anti-doping created shock waves across British sport, a member of the committee has told Cyclingnews that there may yet be more revelations to come.

Giles Watling, MP for Clacton and a member of the DCMS select committee since September last year, revealed that "there may be further hearings" in the future.

"It's entirely possible," he said. "If further evidence arises we could look at it."

"You can never say that it's ‘case closed,'" Watling added. "It's for other agencies to get involved. That may include the judiciary."

The fall out from the findings of the DCMS report, at least within cycling, has been significant.

The key implication, that Team Sky and Sir Bradley Wiggins used tactical TUEs to gain a performance advantage, was met with derision and dismay, with many calling for Dave Brailsford to resign and for both Brailsford and Wiggins to be stripped of their knighthoods.

Both men have consistently denied any wrongdoing. "Not at any time did we cross the ethical line," Wiggins said.

Richard Freeman, the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor at the heart of the controversy, is currently being investigated by the GMC (General Medical Council) while David Lappartient, President of cycling's governing body, the UCI, has also indicated that he wishes the independent body CADF, the Cycling Anti Doping Foundation, to investigate Team Sky further.

"I would like them to do this, to see if there is some violation of anti-doping rules," Lappartient told the BBC.

Meanwhile, Watling was keen to emphasise the limitations of the DCMS select committee's role. "All we can do as the select committee is to investigate and produce a report. We don't take action — we don't do that. The report is out there and we have to wait and see what ministers say about it and what others say about it."

"The DCMS findings are brought to the attention of the judiciary," he said. "That's the point of a parliamentary select committee. We are influential, but we are not a court."

"At the moment as far as doping in sport goes, that's it, but it may kick up some other stuff. We may come into possession of other evidence and we may look at it."

One of the repeated criticisms of the DCMS findings on cycling from Team Sky, Wiggins and his former coach Shane Sutton, was its reliance on anonymous testimony.

"If anonymity is attached to evidence then it always begs a question," Watling acknowledged, "but we have parliamentary privilege and I absolutely respect people who want to remain anonymous for whatever reason."

"The committee respects people who want anonymity. There's no conflict in that for the committee. We gather evidence and say ‘here's what they said,' but we are not 100 per cent guaranteeing the veracity of it."

"Naturally, I understand that Wiggins is upset, but I'm not surprised by the report‘s impact," he said. "If an ill person takes asthma medication to compete, that seems fair. But if a perfectly fit person takes asthma products to win a race there might be something wrong with that, and that's what the appropriate agencies need to consider."

Prior to publication, the report was rumoured to be hard hitting and damning. In that sense, Watling accepted, it had lived up to expectations. "The DCMS is a highly influential committee," he said. "We have made British sport look at itself. We have made it clear that sport must be responsible and must be seen to be fair."

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