Wednesday, June 21, 2006

UNESCO To Debate Doping Crisis in Sports 

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has just released a media advisory called “The doping crisis in sport: conference debate at UNESCO”. This is a prelude to its conference debate on the doping crisis in sport which will take place at UNESCO June 26.

Below is the full text:

The doping crisis in sport: conference debate at UNESCO

20-06-2006 4:20 pm A conference debate on the doping crisis in sport will take place at UNESCO on 26 June. The conference will bring together leading experts in this field and will be opened by the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura (Room IV, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Participants include: Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union, Jenö Kamuti, President of the International Fair-Play Committee; Mark Fainaru-Wada, journalist specializing in the issue of doping1; Rune Andersen, Director, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA); and Claude Droussent, Editor-in-Chief of L’Equipe, France’s leading sports media group.

The conference, which takes place ahead of the Tour de France cycling race2, is organized within the framework of UNESCO’s International Convention Against Doping Sport, the only legal instrument that is both universal and binding. The Convention, adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in October 2005, will enter into force one month after its 30th ratification. So far, it has been ratified by 13 Member States3.

Doping in sport is a serious threat for the health of athletes. It also runs counter to the ethics of sport. According to WADA statistics, 2.13% of tests by accredited laboratories in 2005, showed adverse analytical findings4, i.e. 3,909 of 183,337 tests. Similarly, the States Parties to the Council of Europe Anti-Doping Convention in 2004 reported a total of 802 confirmed violations of anti-doping rules (717 in-competition and 85 out of competition)6 and the last Olympic Games (Athens, 2004) were marked by an unprecedented number of cases of doping.

The problem also concerns amateurs. According to a 2003 National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, 6.1% of young people in grades 9-12 throughout the United States took steroids without a doctor’s prescription one or more times during their lifetime.

The Conference will debate the issue of doping both in terms of the present scandals and of the struggle against this problem. Participants will discuss some of the major recently publicized cases and examine the ethical and medicals aspects of doping, as well as UNESCO’s International Convention Against Doping in Sport and WADA’s anti-doping programme.


1 Mark Fainaru-Wada co-authored Game of Shadows, about the BALCO scandal, with Lance Williams, (published by Gothan by Gotham Books, March 2006).

2 According to WADA, cycling in 2005 registered the highest number of doping cases, with 482 positive samples out of a total of 12,751, i.e. 3.78%. It was followed by baseball (3.69% of 10,580 samples) and boxing (3.41% of 2,433 samples).

3 Sweden, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Monaco, Iceland, Cook Islands, Nigeria, Latvia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Nauru

4 “Adverse Analytical Finding” is defined in the World Anti-Doping code as a report from a laboratory that identifies in a specimen the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers (including elevated quantities of endogenous substances) or evidence of the use of a prohibited method. These figures may not be identical to sanctioned cases, as the figures given in this report may contain findings that underwent the therapeutic use exemption (TUE) approval process.

5.Council of Europe Anti-Doping convention: Annual Report 2004 on National Anti-Doping Policies, available on request.

6.This survey was conducted by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.A.) www.cdc.gov/yrbb

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