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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has introduced guidelines to help national anti-doping organisations (ADOs) work more closely with local law enforcement agencies, and prevent doping in sport by targeting those involved in the sales and distribution of substances banned in sports.
This is the latest stage of WADA’s work on preventing the supply of products, seeing this as the future of the fight against doping in sport. Earlier in the year, WADA’s Director General, David Howman, described the trade in doping products as being more lucrative than the trade in heroin, and talked about how one of his goals is for all countries to introduce legislation against the sale of drugs used in doping.
“For some time now we have been saying that testing alone is not enough to lead the fight against doping in sport, and that ADOs need to develop relationships with law enforcement agencies across the world,” said WADA President John Fahey, after the WADA Executive Committee and Foundation Board meetings last week, in Montreal, Canada, where the new guidelines were presented.
“We are showing ADOs how to best harness the powers of public authorities in the fight against doping in sport - not all rules violations are analytical while there are many upstream perpetrators who fall outside sport’s jurisdiction,” added Fahey.
The document - ‘Coordinating Investigations and Sharing Anti-Doping Information and Evidence’ – has been produced as part of an international programme of work, and includes case studies into how national ADOs have worked with local agencies across a range of sports – including work at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics between WADA, the International Olympic Committee and Italian Carabinieri, and the BALCO case in the USA, which lead to the discovery of doping across major league baseball and track and field athletics.
There have been a number of high-profile police raids aimed at distributors of banned substances, including Operación Cursa in Girona, which was helped by Movistar’s Xavier Tondo going to the Catalan Police after being approached by the doping ring – and both the Festina affair and Operación Puerto were uncovered by traditional law enforcement actions rather than through drugs testing.
The meeting also included an announcement of a memorandum of understanding between WADA and the World Customs Organization (WCO), which ties in with an agreement WADA already has with Interpol, and should enable more cooperation between the major international agencies.
Bio Passport praised
At the same meetings, WADA members were given a presentation on the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) used in cycling as a positive example of identifying doping, with a view to encouraging its use in other sports. The Court of Arbitration’s decision to uphold the bans of Franco Pelizotti and Pietro Cauccholi is seen to have provided validation for the programme, and could be used as a model across more sports.
“These two rulings gave a significant boost to the ABP and we look forward to supporting more and more ADOs who wish to implement this robust method into their anti-doping programs,” said Mr. Howman.
“We have seen how effective the ABP can be, and WADA will be encouraging all its signatories to increase the number of blood tests included in their programs.”
“Not only is it vital for ABPs, but there are prohibited substances that can only be identified through blood testing.”