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Third World Conference on Doping in Sport

Posted By: Robert Keller
Date: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, at 7:45 a.m.

The Third World Conference on Doping in Sport concluded on Saturday with a resolution accepting revisions to strengthen the World Anti-Doping Code. The sports movements and governments of the world have adopted the Madrid Resolution, which includes the option to increase bans for a first offence from [two to four years] if athletes are found to be part of a wider doping network.

Another change to the Code allows for bans to be cut if athletes agree to give information on other drugs cheats. Outgoing World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Dick Pound (pictured right) confirmed on the final day of the three-day conference in Madrid (Spain) that the revised version of the Code had been accepted, but also stressed that the Code was an ongoing and continually evolving process.

“Nobody thinks that the Code we have adopted is the final word on the fight against doping in sport, or necessarily the perfect way of dealing with it, but it's a big improvement on what we had,” Pound said. A number of amendments were also suggested by the participating bodies and governments during the conference, and some of those have been applied to the final revised Code, while others will undergo further consideration. The revised WADA code will come into effect on January 1, 2009.

Pound said: “We had a meeting of our foundation board to consider possible changes to the Code coming out of the conference over the last couple of days. As you know in matters of this nature, 99% of the work is done before the conference in the process of consultation and so on. But there are still some dynamics that develop at the time of the meeting and they were reflected in some changes that we made to the Code. It was unanimously approved by the foundation board, recognising that life will go on and the Code will continue to evolve as we get more and more experience with it.”

Meanwhile, Victor Conte has offered to meet with Pound. Conte, who spent four months in prison as part of the investigation into the Balco doping scandal that later implicated top athletes including Marion Jones, now wants to help clean up the sport. Pound has accepted his offer of assistance in a bid to learn more about the problems affecting sport. Pound told BBC Sport: “(Conte) said ‘WADA has never called me’ - I’m calling him. We’re setting up a meeting.” Conte was urged by Pound upon his sentencing in 2005 to help the anti-doping effort and now the two look set to come together before the latter hands over the WADA reins to John Fahey (see story below) at the end of the year.

On the second day of the Madrid Conference, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack made a speech addressing the IAAF’s position regarding the revision of the Code. Diack started off by focusing on the role of governments, saying: “It is clear that sport cannot hope to win the fight against doping on its own and that the governments are fundamental to its ultimate chances of success.” Diack also said that he was “pleased to note a further broadening of the scope of the Code to encompass athlete support personnel”. However, the IAAF President added that it is an “ongoing concern” that “there remain countries which continue to be successful on the sporting stage but which do not yet have effective anti-doping programmes in place at national level”.

In response to the World Conference on Doping in Sport, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) said it had “drawn positive conclusions on the debates and decisions”. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said: “FIFA and WADA have always fought hard to defend their respective positions, for the sake and for the protection of football. FIFA's main objective has always been to see the principle of individual case management integrated into the code and to give team sports a voice. This is now the case.”

Robert Keller
Member, IPF Anti-Doping Commission


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