An international symposium of government, sport, anti-doping and law enforcement authorities, convened by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has today called for the targeting of wide scale doping schemes involving the illegal manufacture and distribution of performance enhancing drugs, and urged increased cooperation among multiple government and law enforcement agencies around the globe to attack these sinister elements in the doping underground.
Giving law enforcement agencies the framework and tools necessary to shut down the large scale doping schemes, and facilitating collaboration between law enforcement and sports authorities in their investigative work so that sport can sanction those who facilitate and profit from cheating, were key themes discussed during the two-day symposium hosted in London by UK Sport, the National Anti-Doping Organisation for the UK.
"The 'upstream' organizers of doping on a broad scale, including traffickers and members of the athlete entourage, must be held accountable," said WADA Director General David Howman. "They are well-organized and well-financed individuals and groups who prey on athletes and youth and who profit from cheating while risking very little themselves. There is a necessary and inevitable evolution underway in the global fight against doping in sport, expanding beyond the traditional model that targets athletes through testing, research and education. It requires a more unified and cooperative action among law enforcement and anti-doping agencies to shut down source and supply."
John Scott, Director of Drug Free Sport at UK Sport, added: "This meeting was very timely and a welcome initiative from WADA. We have been looking at this crucial issue for some time and are working with Department for Culture Media & Sport and other Government departments, such as the Home Office and Revenue & Customs, to investigate how we can make better use of existing powers, and to consider where more work might need to be done in this area."
The London symposium followed on a first meeting hosted in Colorado Springs (U.S.) in November 2006 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Both included the participation of representatives of law enforcement, sport federations, national anti-doping organizations, Council of Europe and WADA.
Participants discussed key principles and new strategies to facilitate tackling large-scale trafficking and doping operations and targeting the manufacturers, suppliers and the athlete entourage.
- Doping threatens public health. The distribution of doping substances reaches well beyond the group of elite athletes tested under the World Anti-Doping Code.
- Distribution through the Internet. The ease and anonymity with which doping substances are acquired via the Internet makes the coordination of investigations among law enforcement and multiple government agencies critical.
- A working group will follow-up on strategies discussed for the development of model protocols and guidelines.