Former WADA chief on absence of doping controls: There is no doubt in my mind that some athletes will cheat
May 07 2020 07:10 pm CET

Former WADA chief on absence of doping controls: There is no doubt in my mind that some athletes will cheat
Former WADA chief on absence of doping controls: There is no doubt in my mind that some athletes will cheat
Photo by Jonathan Roorda /

Sir Craig Reedie, former president of the WADA, has expressed his concerns about the lack of doping controls in times of coronavirus.

Several riders have already complained about the absence of testing and some of them -like Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)- have even said that they haven't been tested since October 2019. Other voices like Tom Dumoulin, Victor Campenaerts and Nans Peters have also showed their discomfort with the situation.

Sir Craig Reedie -former president of the World Anti-Doping Organisation- is also worried about this situation. The former head of the organisation created to fight the use of illegal substances in sports, discussed this during a talk at the e-College of the Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive (AIPS).

Reedie was asked if he is concerned about the use of doping by athletes at a moment where the controls are minimal. "The simple answer is yes," he said. "I've always tried to be one of the optimistic people but I have to say being involved in WADA for more than 20 years, I'm afraid you become cynical. There is no doubt in my mind that some athletes will cheat. The testing programs for all athletes have not come to a complete hold but are in a much more limited level of activity and therefore I have to be cynical and say that some people will cheat.

"The challenge is what we do when this finishes and when doping officials can get access to athletes. They are still returning their whereabouts, so we know where they are. I think anybody who decides to cheat is taking the risk for a number of reasons. First of all, there is now a much greater degree of intelligence within WADA and other anti doping organisations about where the cheats come from, geographically where they are and other aspects of intelligence. So I'm sure when that when testing is resumed there will be a lot of targeting done. Secondly, we are smarter than we were before, we are now better in laboratory examinations, we've got a comprehensive list of prohibited substances and I also think, hopefully there is some understanding that if the 2020 games are going ahead it is very important for sports that people behave.

"Most athletes in my view are clean, some are not. Lastly, we will store samples for a long period and as soon as science gets better we will retest them so anyone who cheats may well be caught."

The WADA has also announced the development of an updated guidance for Anti-Doping Organisations with the practices to follow when the normal doping control programs can resume. "Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, WADA has been keeping in close contact with Anti-Doping Organisations in order to provide leadership and support in the face of this unprecedented situation," said the President of the organisation, Witold Banka. "As always, our first priority must be public health, safety and social responsibility. Therefore, we continue to urge everyone to follow closely the advice of relevant health authorities and government agencies.

"Where testing programs can resume, we are providing clear guidance so that the integrity of the system can be maintained without jeopardizing the health of athletes, sample collection personnel or anyone coming into contact with them. It is crucial that the system can return to full power as quickly as possible once the various restrictions are lifted, in line with the different circumstances around the world."



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