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Presentation made at The Play the Game Conference 2009 in Coventry, UK
- CONFUSION, OPPOSITION AND VIOLATIONS
Standing here before you in this magnificent Coventry Cathedral, I think
it will be appropriate to start by telling you what I believe in –
I believe in a clean sport, but like all believers I am also tormented by
little devils and by doubts -
but I still believe.
In the past months it has become
more and more clear to the wider public that the views on anti-doping, and
indeed anti-doping-rules, varies immensely from one sport to another, and from
one country to another. This in spite of the fact that more
than 570 sports organizations have accepted the World Anti-Doping Code.
than 100 nations have ratified the UNESCO convention against doping in sport,
based on the anti-doping code of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
outstanding, global unanimity, among the sports world and the political world
alike, combined with the very clear and detailed rules of the WADA Code, it was
to be expected, or at least hoped, that the World Anti-doping Code would be
implemented and followed by the above mentioned parties.
is not so. In a number of sports, and a number of countries, the rules are
being misinterpreted, bend, or downright violated.
In the International Handball
Federation (IHF), fundamental anti-doping rules are being ignored completely.
Testing out-of-competition is scarce, if at all performed, testing before and
during major championships is non-existent, there is no programme for educating
anti-doping officials, and there are no independent anti-doping-officials.
On top of this, all planned doping
controls have to be sanctioned on beforehand by the president of IHF himself.
This is completely opposed to the WADA Code and obviously destroys any
possibility to perform unannounced tests with the necessary independence, security
So, five years after the WADA Code
was implemented it can be concluded that there are still international
federations which are more or less violating the rules.
As late as May 8th this
year this was underlined by a statement from WADA, saying that Gymnastics,
wrestling, modern pentathlon AND handball had agreed to start
out-of-competition testing programmes. Well, obviously they agreed to that also
five years ago, and in any case they will now have a very, very long way to go.
The huge problems with abiding by
the Code have become even more obvious with the latest changes in the WADA Code
concerning the so called whereabouts system
This has coursed a great uproar in
international federations, among athletes, in governments and in the European Union.
FIFA, the international football federation, has protested strongly against
this change, and will act only in accordance with its own whereabouts rules.
Also the European Union has been
quick in its response to the new whereabouts rule. The EU Sports Commissioner
has asked WADA to suspend the rule while EU examined it, and has said in an
interview that the rule should be “potentially amended”. The general opinion of the EU apparently being
that the rules contravenes the privacy laws of the EU and its 27 member states.
Following the change of the WADA
rules, the Spanish government, passed a legislation in April that allows
athletes in the country to refuse night time doping tests, and to turn away
anti-doping agents that appear for a sample between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. The law
will also slacken the whereabouts rule, concerning the demands about where and
when athletes must state their whereabouts.
Apart from the obvious, unlimited
consequences it will have, if each and every country introduces its own
anti-doping and whereabouts system, it will definitely destroy what has been
built over the last five years, in terms of a uniform system for all athletes
and, together with separate, homemade systems as that of FIFA, and
non-functioning systems as that of IHF and others, would destruct the work of
WADA, and would bomb anti-doping back to the days of the German Democratic
Republic – for some that may very well be the intention.
As the former president of Wada,
Richard Pound has stated, the International doping distribution is run along
In Belgium 65 athletes from various
sports have started court proceedings against the changes in the whereabouts
system, and other high profiled athletes from different sports and various
countries have also spoken strongly against the changes.
the key point in all the before mentioned, in relation to FIFA, IHF, EU, the
Spanish government, the 65 Belgian athletes and all other protesting athletes
and sports federations is, that obviously neither of them has understood what
the whereabouts rules were about before January 1st 2009, and,
consequently, what they are about now.
why the criticism and oppositions comes only from those who have not been used
to carry out, or undergo, out-of-competition testing.
Since the adoption of the WADA
Code in 2003 the whereabouts rules have been the following:
selected top athletes were required to give three months notice of their
location for twenty-four hours a day – seven days a week, and accordingly they
could expect to be visited by testing personnel at any hour, any day for
After January 1st 2009 the whereabouts rules stipulate:
That selected top athletes
are still required to give three months notice of their location for
twenty-four hours a day – seven days a week, but especially for one hour
each daybetween 6 a.m.
and 11 p.m. and accordingly they shall specifically be available for
out-of-competition testing each day for one hour, at a time of their own
This does not mean that they cannot be sought out at
other times, but as testing officials do not like to waste time looking for
athletes who are not available, and as the testing procedure will also normally
include checking the whereabouts information given for that one hour, that will
undoubtedly be the time where by far the most out-of-competition tests will be
And mind you, every athlete
decides for himself the time of the day.
So why this uproar and anger from
so many sides, when for five years no-one has objected to the previous rules. Why
now indeed when the changes have been an improvement of the conditions for the
Well, to me there is only one logical
explanation, either the people and organisations which are protesting, have
been completely ignorant of the rules so far, and do not know what they are
talking about, or they have deliberately violated them for the last five years,
and are doing so continuously.
That is the shocking conclusion
that can be deducted from this line of events, a conclusion that – strangely
enough - I have not come across anywhere else, and it brings me back to what I
said in the beginning, that the views on anti-doping-rules, varies immensely
from one sport to another, and also from one area federation to another.
So let us take a look at “my”
federation, the European Federation of Athletics (EAA):
athletics, 17 out of 18 doping cases in relation to the Olympic Games in
Beijing 2008, were related only to European athletes.
Athens 2004 the same applied to 9 out of 10 doping cases in athletics.
During the last more than 10 years
I have worked tirelessly against heavy opposition, in order to improve doping
control within European Athletics, until the President and his council – last
year - finally found an opportunity to exclude me from the federation´s
A detailed account of my experiences, and the opposition and
difficulties I have been facing, can be found on the website: www.123hjemmeside.dk/eaa-anti-doping
With the information you can find
there, and together with what I have been saying here, I think that most of you
will agree that WADA and anti-doping still have a long, long way to go, and
many fights to fight.
And opposition can be found on
many levels. In my home country, Denmark a recently elected and totally
inexperienced President of Danish Athletics, has refused to recommend my
continued work as an anti-doping delegate in European athletics, when my
present term is ending, after which Danish athletics will no more be
represented in international anti-doping.
Apparently he is not only
inexperienced. Either he must be against efficient anti-doping activities such
as they are documented on my website, or he must be a complete ignorant, especially
when it comes to anti-doping.
To strive to improve efficiency
within anti-doping is a very tough and most ungrateful undertaking.
With that in mind, let me conclude
by saying, that right now it is crucial for WADA to win the fight at hand
concerning the whereabouts rules, and to defeat those with shaky hands or
doubtful motives, for the sake of all clean athletes, and for the sake of world
- and I still believe in a clean sport.