Scaling up testing
106. A recently released IOC statement announced
that, as part of its zero tolerance approach to fighting doping,
the number of tests conducted for the Beijing Olympic Games will
be significantly increased. Final numbers are to be confirmed
but are expected to be around 4,500, a 25 per cent increase on
Athens 2004. It
might therefore be reasonable to assume the possibility of further
increases by 2012 and the London Games. Indeed, according to Professor
Ljungqvist, the IOC is steadily increasing the number of tests
for the Olympic Games from each one to the next and he was certain
that "they will be increased again".
Dr Budgett of the BOA suggested that 5,000 tests would be "a
nice rounding of the figure", which "would be half of
the athletes at the games".
107. If testing is to increase during the 2012 Olympics,
then it is clear that the UK must have a strategy in place underpinning
the requirements this may impose. During our visit to Australia,
the Committee learnt that the Australian Government awarded significant
funding to enable the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory
(ASDTL) to expand in preparation for the testing of all samples
taken during the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The ASDTL called on equipment
and personnel (the ASDTL expanded from 14 to 90 members of staff
during the games) from other sections of the National Measurements
Institute where it is based, and was able to ensure that all involved
in the testing process were fully trained.
108. In the light of this experience, we were concerned
at the apparent complacency shown by UK Sport and the Government
in respect of this issue. When asked how UK testing laboratories
would scale up for testing at the 2012 games, John Scott from
UK Sport acknowledged that there may be a huge increase in the
number of tests but he did not think capacity would be a problem,
telling us that "it is very easy to bring in the sophisticated
testing machinery" and that "there are a number of individuals
who are qualified to use that machine internationally who would
also be brought in".
It is a standard procedure during the Olympics that staff from
WADA-accredited laboratories from across the world congregate
in the host country to assist in the testing process. This is
reassuring but we were less satisfied with Mr Scott's admission
that this "is part of the pre-Games planning that we are
only now beginning to get our heads around".
The question of funding for the necessary increase in facilities
also seems unresolved. When pressed on whether the UK Government
would be making funds available, the Minister for Sport, Richard
Caborn MP told us that this was "not a UK responsibility
or indeed a Government responsibility" but one within the
domain of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games
and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). Mr Caborn also told us that funding
for the London 2012 testing programme itself would have to come
out of the LOCOG budget.
109. Whilst 2012 may seem some way off, we believe
that it is essential that the UK takes a proactive stance on developing
the facilities required for a successful testing programme. We
also believe that an accurate view of funding requirements must
be obtained and that adequate funding for the running of a successful
testing programme must be made available.
We recommend that UK Sport and DCMS urgently consult on requirements
for scale-up of testing facilities, personnel and protocol during
the London 2012 Olympics and that Government funding for meeting
such requirements be made available. This will clearly require
close working with LOCOG and to facilitate this, we urge the Government
to provide a clear statement on the responsibilities and remit
of LOCOG and UK Sport regarding the London 2012 testing programme.
110. We were also interested to determine what mechanisms
the UK has in place to learn from previous large-scale events
such as the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. John Scott from UK Sport
told us that "WADA undertakes an independent observer programme
for all the games".
He added that UK Sport will be studying WADA reports, for example
on Turin (host of the 2006 Winter Olympics) and Melbourne (host
of the 2006 Commonwealth Games), and that it will be working with
LOCOG in terms of "delivery of the anti-doping programme".
There are two options in terms of how this Olympic anti-doping
programme will be delivered (either by UK Sport directly, or with
UK Sport as advisers for the delivery), and Mr Scott explained
that the selected option would "gear up accordingly".
Anti-doping will come within the remit of a medical director for
the London Games who is yet to be appointed, although Mr Scott
indicated that UK Sport expects to "be there as well observing
anti-doping at the [Beijing] Games".
111. Once again, we find the attitude of UK Sport
unacceptably complacent. Whilst it might not be expected that
the 2012 Olympic anti-doping policy should already be in place,
we are concerned that little is being done to liaise with and
learn from previous hosts of the Olympics and other major events.
We recommend that immediate
mechanisms be put in place by UK Sport to learn how other countries
have managed doping during large international sporting events.
We recommend that the Government liaise actively with WADA, IOC
and other governments to ensure that the UK is not only well prepared
for anti-doping during the 2012 Games, but that there is a clear
understanding of the protocols the UK must have in place. This
process of learning lessons from the experience of others will
be vital to the success of the 2012 Games but we are also concerned
that more needs to be done, and more quickly, to ensure that the
UK can deliver the most efficient anti-doping and testing programme
possible. We recommend that
the Government develop an action plan in conjunction with UK Sport
to ensure that the UK is prepared for anti-doping well in advance
of the 2012 Games.
112. During our visit to Australia, we learned about
the importance of gaining knowledge of prohibited substances which
may be brought into the country, either legally (if not banned
under UK legislation) or illegally, prior to the London 2012 Olympic
Games. Representatives of the Sydney branch of the Court of Arbitration
for Sport impressed upon us how essential it is that a robust
relationship is built between anti-doping authorities and HM Revenue
and Customs prior to the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics. We agree
that this is an area for serious consideration. We
recommend that mechanisms be put in place for informed liaison
between UK Sport or any replacement anti-doping authority and
HM Revenue and Customs to identify and monitor prohibited substances
brought into the UK which may be intended for use during the 2012
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