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Review Of Uksport's Anti-Doping Policy

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"The two major justifications for the ban on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport relate to the protection of the health of athletes, and the maintenance of fair competition"

(Black, 1996; as cited by Waddington, 2000)

The main objective of the U.K. Statement of the Anti-doping Policy stems from this. The aim is to ensure that the various governing bodies of sport in the United Kingdom have consistent and regular sets of policies and regulations in order to "protect the rights of athletes to compete drug-free" (U.K. Statement of Anti-doping Policy). This policy, (January 2002) published by U.K. Sport, was considered "a major landmark in the fight for drug-free sport". It was an attempt to set standards in accordance with the International Standard for Doping Control (ISDC). The policy also intends to ensure that "governing bodies are compliant with legislation that protects the rights of athletes" (Annual Report 2001, p.4). Indeed, as Verroken (2002; as cited by Burgess, 2002) states, "a strong relationship between sport and the Government is vital in achieving a drug-free environment for elite athletes."

According to the policy, Governing Bodies will agree an anti-doping programme on an annual basis with UK Sport and work with UK Sport to achieve the programme targets. They will appoint an individual to be responsible for the anti-doping policy and programme. They will also appoint either a UK Sport or an ISO 18873 (International Standard for Doping Control) certified agent to carry out testing. Furthermore, they will provide UK Sport with necessary information to arrange testing. Again, they will have to advise athletes about testing procedures in preparation for their involvement in the testing programme, and convene, in a timely manner, independent review, investigative hearing and appeal panels to ensure fair procedures for the review of evidence and communication of the decisions. Additionally, they will have to attend to the analysis of the "B Sample" and provide a fair process to investigate allegations or admissions of drug misuse. The policy also states that Governing Bodies are responsible for applying sanctions against athletes who have committed doping offences. These sanctions should be in accordance with the regulations of the sport as outlines by the Governing Body or the International Federation. The sanctions should also comply with the rules of eligibility as defined by the British Olympic Association or the Commonwealth Games Association.

UK Sport's role is also clearly defined in the policy. UK Sport will have to agree an annual anti-doping programme, consisting of testing (where appropriate), education and information, with the Governing Bodies and also assist with its delivery. They will have to guarantee the confidentiality of information arising from programmes except where it is required, in order to provide transparency and accountability for public funding and the integrity of the testing programme. UK Sport will also report to the designated official, within the Governing Body, both negative and positive test outcomes, within an agreed timeframe. Again, they will assist, as required, with the provision of information to the review, investigative hearing or appeal panels. Training workshops will be provided for Governing Bodies, on operational and legal issues. Governing Bodies will also have to be supported with advice and guidance, from the Anti-Doping Programme, team to achieve programme delivery arising from the policy. Supporting, independent advice on complex scientific or medical issues will also be provided by UK Sport, who will also promote an independent dispute resolution system for sport. Finally, UK Sport will have to continue independent, high quality collection services, as well as assisting Governing Bodies with the monitoring and reporting of results.

Furthermore, according to the policy, Sports Councils have the power to withdraw funding from athletes who have come under Review Panel scrutiny. There are also two key Acts that have implications for the policy. They are the Data Protection Act, and the Human Rights Act. Their implications are discussed in further sections.

"Of all the functions of state-run sports in modernising societies, that to promote and maintain health must take first place."

(Riordan, 1986; cited by Waddington, I., 2000).

"Anti-doping codes seek to preserve what is intrinsically valuable about sport."

(Williams, C., 2003)

Nowadays, not only is the use of drugs to improve performance prohibited under the rules of sport governing bodies and committees, it is also a punishable offence. However, this was not always the case. Also, even in present times, public attitudes towards the use of drugs are not always consistent (Waddington, 2000 p.91). There is, thus, the need for effective anti-doping policies not only because drugs damage the health of athletes, but also because doping is a form of cheating. Furthermore, doping is harmful to the image of sport, as "doping destroys the principle of fair competition and if we tolerate it, we will fatally damage public confidence and destroy the very principle of fair sport" (Banks, T. 1999, p. 4).

The use of performance enhancing drugs in sport is an age-old practice. Indeed, it has been found that they were used even 2000 years ago (Waddington, 2000 p. 98). But, a shift in perspective has occurred. It is only recently that this practice has begun to be regarded as unacceptable. Studies have shown that there has been a significant increase in the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the last few decades (Waddington, 2000 p.14). This has occurred due to factors like significant technological and biomedical development, which has led to a widespread availability of such drugs. Furthermore, of late, there has been significant de-amateurisation and professionalisation of sport. Indeed, the stakes have been raised due to politicisation of sport, and the factor of sportive nationalism (Hoberman, 2001) and national pride have begun to be associated with winning, due to an increase in the number of international sporting events (Waddington, I. p.125). Furthermore, the increasing commercialisation of sport has led to the availability of enormous financial rewards for the winners (Waddington, 2000 p.126).

The idea of anti-doping policy-making is a relatively recent one. However, there have been very few social science studies concerned with the monitoring and evaluation of policy partly because anti-doping policies have been so unstable (Houlihan, B. 2001, p.24). In the 1960s and early 1970s, the issue was seen as one that affected

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