European Union officials and Council of Europe lawmakers are to consider proposals to criminalise doping across the EU at a meeting in Lisbon on Wednesday, according to the Reuters news agency. Sports governing bodies are reportedly against the proposals after a recently passed reform treaty gave them more power in regulating their own sports without interference from Brussels.
However, in July, the European Commission released a strategy paper on sport recommending that "trade in illicit doping substances be treated in the same manner as trade in illicit drugs throughout the EU".
According to one EU diplomat, the current deterrent of stripping titles and imposing suspensions for athletes found guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs is not considered strong enough, whereas a prison sentence or criminal record might be. "The Commission does not go as far as saying the actual athletes who take drugs be treated as criminals, but there is some support to go further and do this," the diplomat told Reuters.
The meeting will also discuss proposals to setup a new EU anti-doping agency, potentially a European rival to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). However, outgoing WADA president Dick Pound dismissed the idea, proposed by former French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour, as ineffective. "We've got a perfectly good code, a perfectly good organisation," said Pound.