Interpol, the world’s largest police organization, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have committed to work together to identify areas for collaboration in combating the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport.
The need for stronger and more unified action in tackling the problem of doping was underlined as a key point during the meeting between Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble and WADA Director General, David Howman at the General Secretariat on Monday 2 October.
A global congress on combating doping in sport was among the proposals discussed during the meeting, which would bring together experts from the policing and sporting worlds to develop best practice and inter-agency co-operation at all levels.
“Doping in sport is not only a crime in the conventional sense of the word, but it is also morally dishonest and harmful at so many levels. From the trainer who convinces a young, impressionable athlete that taking drugs is the only way to win, to record breaking performances which are now questioned by the general public,” said Secretary General Noble.
“The deception associated with doping is now spread so far and so wide, that there are some sports where every single individual who breaks a record falls under suspicion.
“The enormous profits associated with major sporting events for individuals, companies and even countries have made it easy for those who should be acting to turn a blind eye.”
Interpol and WADA are to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding to provide a clear framework for co-operation in tackling doping.
“Many athletes are not aware of the consequences of taking performance enhancing drugs, both legally and physically,” said Mr Howman.
“While much has been done during recent years to raise awareness in the sporting world of the damage doping can do, with support from the law enforcement community in identifying and prosecuting the suppliers, I am sure that far more progress can be made.
“It is important that we take action now, to protect young sportsmen and women from harm, and to protect the integrity of sport itself.”
The need for a co-ordinated and worldwide effort to combat doping in sport was also underlined by the Interpol Secretary General.
“By working with the World Anti-Doping Agency, Interpol is clearly showing the world that this is not acceptable, that action will be taken against those who cheat, and that honest athletes can achieve the results they deserve,” added Mr Noble.
In 2004, Interpol hosted the first International Working Group on doping agents, attended by delegates from 16 countries in addition to WADA, the International Olympic Committee and the Council of Europe. The group recognised as essential the need for stronger legislation to deter criminals from what is viewed as a high-profit low-risk crime.
(Left to right) David Howman, WADA Director General; and Ronald K. Noble, Interpol Secretary General at Interpol Headquarters in Lyon (France) on 2 October 2006.