Nicole Sapstead has supported the stance of the World Anti-Doping Agency in opposing criminalising drug use in sport

UK Anti-Doping’s (UKAD) chief executive Nicole Sapstead would be against plans to criminalise doping offences in sport in the UK, as suggested by sports minister Tracey Crouch in an interview with the BBC.

Athletics, and the international governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), was at the centre of a media storm during the summer after The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD published allegations of widespread doping in the sport – allegations which the IAAF has denied.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued a statement opposing the criminalisation of drugs offences, claiming that the current process is “globally accepted by sport and government”, after the former chairman of the British Olympic Association Lord Moynihan, as stated by the Daily Mail, called for doping to be treated similarly to fraud in terms of its criminality.

Crouch hinted that the government will look into the possibility, but Sapstead has echoed the sentiments of WADA in believing such a change would be unnecessary.

In a statement, Sapstead said: “Criminalisation of doping offences in the UK is not something that UKAD wants to see at this time as we feel the sanctions in place are proportionate.”

The chief executive of UKAD reiterated her desire to continue working with the government to help take action against the suppliers of performance-enhanching drugs.

She added: “Through strong working relationships with a wide range of law enforcement partners, and a comprehensive education programme, UKAD’s aim is to protect clean sport by deterring and preventing doping.

“We are open to dialogue around new ways of protecting sport, but our focus remains tackling the supply chain and the source of the problem.”

Newly-elected IAAF president and two-time Olympic gold medallist Seb Coe has recently called for the creation of an integrity unit to help enforce more independent anti-doping procedures within the sport.