Select Committee on Science and Technology Second Report

Conclusions and recommendations


The ethics of doping

1.  We believe that ethics are an important consideration in the fight against doping and are concerned that limited attempts are being made to address this issue. We recommend that UK Sport establish a Committee to examine the ethical aspects of doping in sport and advise WADA on possible changes to the consideration of ethical issues within its operations. We also believe that UK Sport and WADA should consider the case for funding research into the ethics of doping. (Paragraph 46)

The culture of doping

Prevalence of doping

2.  We recommend that UK Sport commission research into the real incidence of doping both in general and in particular sports in order that the magnitude of the problem may be understood and the means of tackling it may be better defined. (Paragraph 50)

Obtaining banned substances

3.  We are concerned at the ease by which banned, and potentially dangerous, substances can be obtained for use by athletes and we recommend that the Government review regulation in this area. (Paragraph 52)

4.  We do not believe that it is in the best interest of the athlete for WADA to remove its accreditation from laboratories testing commercial supplements for use in sport. We recommend that the Minister for Sport maintain pressure on WADA to secure the continuing accreditation of laboratories which also test commercial supplements. In addition, we recommend UK Sport take the lead in working with relevant bodies to put in place a certification system for supplements used in sport to regulate against contamination of food supplements and provide assurance to athletes on the purity of what they are taking. (Paragraph 57)

5.  We recommend that UK Sport consult upon and review its education material aimed at general practitioners and other medics on the issues faced by athletes, providing further education if this is deemed necessary to clarify WADA prohibited substances and the routes via which such substances may be given. (Paragraph 58)

Prevention and detection of doping

The WADA Code

6.  We urge DCMS and UK Sport to press WADA for clear reasoning to be given for each substance and method included on the Prohibited List and for its decisions in cases where substances and methods are examined but not banned. As a general rule, we should like to see increased attention paid by WADA to the science behind substances and methods considered for inclusion in the List. (Paragraph 63)

7.  We are concerned at the approach taken by the Government to the use of recreational drugs in sport where they may be performance-enhancing and against the spirit of sport, and we urge the Government to conduct further research to ascertain the possible performance-enhancing capacity of social drugs in sport. (Paragraph 65)

8.  We recommend that UK Sport press WADA for abolition of the abbreviated TUE system, and that UK Sport ensure that all TUEs in the UK are awarded on the basis of sufficient evidence that an athlete requires the medication for which the exemption has been awarded. (Paragraph 68)

Testing for use of illegal HETs

9.  We recommend that UK Sport further develop its research programme into the science behind doping and that it apply understanding of the effects and pharmacokinetics of banned substances to its testing programme to help further identify optimum testing time-points for doping in sport. (Paragraph 69)

10.  We recommend that UK Sport work with WADA to help further develop WADA's testing regime and increase the chance of catching athletes who are guilty of doping. (Paragraph 71)

11.  Whilst we accept that most testing is satisfactorily carried out through urine, we are of the view that increased research may be needed to determine the most appropriate testing route for different prohibited substances and we urge the Government to consider supporting studies of this nature. In the meantime, we urge UK Sport to increase its programme for testing blood samples since this may facilitate more detailed testing for prohibited substances, either in the present or future (Paragraph 72)

12.   We recommend that UK Sport and WADA increase storing of data and samples to allow re-evaluation and analysis of test samples once more sophisticated detection methodologies have been developed. (Paragraph 75)

13.  We urge UK Sport to consider the value of implementing a policy in which all UK athletes would be obliged to compete internationally in the 12 months prior to the 2012 Olympics in order to be eligible for participation in the games, with exemption given where appropriate, for example in cases of serious and proven injury. (Paragraph 76)

14.  We recommend DCMS evaluate whether the resources allocated to anti-doping within its own department are sufficient, and whether they will be so by 2012. (Paragraph 77)

UK anti-doping programme

15.  We recommend that, rather than arrogate to itself a world-wide leading position, UK Sport operate a continuous review process to ensure current and future success of the UK anti-doping programme. This review process should include monitoring whether the rules are understood and applied consistently across all sports in the UK. (Paragraph 80)

16.  We recommend that UK Sport work with schools to develop an effective mechanism for educating about the harm which doping in sport can cause. (Paragraph 82)

Investigation and prosecution of doping

Conflicts of interest

17.  We urge UK Sport and DCMS to liaise formally with ASADA and USADA in order to determine best practice in testing, investigation and prosecution of doping offences. We recommend that a separate body be established to undertake these roles in the UK, independent of UK Sport and the national governing bodies of individual sports. (Paragraph 88)

Criminalisation of doping

18.  We urge the Government to initiate a review of the experience of countries which have put in place laws criminalising doping in sport. (Paragraph 91)

Sanctions for doping offences

19.  We urge UK Sport to recommend to WADA that a minimum four year ban is applied in all incidences of proven doping. (Paragraph 92)

20.  We urge UK Sport to consider a mechanism by which athletes would be liable for repayment of all financial gains, perhaps from the point of the last 'clean' test they had given.(Paragraph 93)

21.  We recommend that UK Sport and sporting bodies consider making it a requirement that athletes should disclose sources of doping before they are allowed to return to competitive sport. (Paragraph 94)

Resolving disagreement

22.  We urge the Government to clarify the position regarding the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport for arbitration and mediation of disputes in doping cases which may occur prior to and during the London 2012 Olympics and to take any steps necessary to ensure that appropriate jurisdiction is established. (Paragraph 96)

Keeping ahead of the game

Horizon scanning

23.  We recommend that the Government establish effective means of monitoring and evaluating potential areas of threat from doping prior to the London 2012 Olympics. We recommend that this responsibility be given to the new organisation in charge of testing, investigation and prosecution of doping offences, distinct from UK Sport, as recommended earlier in this Report. (Paragraph 98)

Research into illegal HETs

24.  We recommend that DCMS and UK Sport develop a funding stream to support research into potentially prohibited substances and methods for their detection. We recommend that funds be made available for this work well in advance of the London 2012 Olympics. (Paragraph 103)

Alternative methods for catching cheats

25.  We recommend that the UK pilot the development of a doping passport and that government funds be made available for development of this scheme. To support this, we recommend that funding be given for research into normal physiology and changes in physiological characteristics after doping with illegal substances (Paragraph 105)

Preparing for the 2012 Olympics

Scaling up testing

26.  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. (Paragraph 109)


27.  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. (Paragraph 111)

28.  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. (Paragraph 111)

29.  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 Olympic Games. (Paragraph 112)

Being the best legally

Use of legal HETs

30.  We should like to see a culture of 'openness' developed and maintained in which athletes can easily access help and advice in situations where use of legal HETs may be appropriate. UK Sport should take the lead in fostering this approach through its links with the national sporting bodies. (Paragraph 115)

Development of legal HETs

31.  We recommend that the Government review the quality of sports science research in the UK and implement mechanisms for enhancing training and support where required. (Paragraph 118)

32.  We recommend that the Research Councils include research into sports science within their funding remits. Furthermore, we urge the co-ordinating body, Research Councils UK to examine the ways in which sports science could be more effectively served across the Research Councils. (Paragraph 121)

33.  We recommend that the Government develop a specific funding stream for research into legal mechanisms for enhancing human performance in sport. (Paragraph 122)

Knowledge transfer

34.  We urge UK Sport to develop formal mechanisms for the sharing of knowledge and information between the different sectors and to look at mechanisms for maximising the application of knowledge already in existence to the benefit of sport in the UK. Furthermore, we recommend that the UK Research Councils identify mechanisms for enhancing the sharing of information relevant to sports science between the different academic disciplines. (Paragraph 129)

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Prepared 22 February 2007