Resetting world records and longer bans for drug cheats among suggestions made by the national governing body
UK Athletics (UKA) has published a series of proposals that the national governing body says could be introduced to “achieve a new era of clean athletics”.
Suggestions in the UKA document “A Manifesto for Clean Athletics” include resetting world records, issuing longer bans for serious doping offences and the introduction of a public global register of all drugs tests. The governing body says it will also look into a rule that would result in athletes who commit serious anti-doping violations being handed lifetime bans from representing Great Britain.
“The integrity of athletics was challenged as never before in 2015,” said UKA chairman Ed Warner. “Clean athletes and sports fans the world over have been let down. Trust in the sport is at its lowest point for decades.
“UKA believes the time has come for radical reform if we are to help restore trust in the sport. Athletics needs to act very differently if we are to move on from the crisis facing the sport.”
Warner added: “Greater transparency, tougher sanctions, longer bans – and even resetting the clock on world records for a new era – we should be open to do whatever it takes to restore credibility in the sport. And at the heart must be a proper and appropriate funding regime for the anti-doping authorities to help confront the new challenges they face. Clean athletes the world over deserve nothing less.”
British athletes who currently hold world records are Paula Radcliffe with 2:15:25 for the marathon, Jonathan Edwards’ 18.29m in the triple jump and 7.30 by Colin Jackson in the 60m hurdles.
The 14 proposals:
· WADA should maintain a public global register of all drugs tests so that the times and places of tests undertaken by all athletes are open to scrutiny.
· If the above is not introduced swiftly by WADA, UK Sport should mandate all lottery-funded athletes in Great Britain to have their tests available on a public register maintained by UKAD. Non-lottery-funded athletes in the UK should be invited to join the register.
· A call to WADA and UKAD to investigate the implications of publishing a register of missed tests. Also to review the efficacy of the current “three strikes” system with a view to lengthening the measurement period to 18 months or two years
· The pool of athletes subject to testing, both in the UK and worldwide, should be deepened. Also, there should be an increase in out-of-competition testing for all athletes.
· WADA should review and strengthen the process around the granting of therapeutic use exemptions to athletes.
· The IAAF should insist that all athletes competing in world championships have a valid blood/biological passport and have been subject to a predetermined number of in-competition and out-of-competition tests in the twelve months preceding the competition. This should be in place for at least the top 10 leading athletics nations by the 2017 World Championships. Once established this blood/biological passport should become an athlete prerequisite for all major international competitions.
· The IAAF should make it the responsibility of member federations to reimburse any lost prize monies to affected athletes resulting from a ban and annulment of results. If a member federation does not honour this responsibility, it can be suspended from participating in major championships.
· A call to the IAAF to investigate the implications of drawing a line under all pre-existing sport records – for example, by adjusting event rules – and commencing a new set of records based on performances in the new Clean Athletics era.
· A call to all companies who engage in sports sponsorship not to support any athlete found guilty of a serious doping offence as a matter of principle in support of Clean Athletics. In addition we call for the IAAF to ring-fence a percentage of each of its commercial sponsorships to be used toward the funding and support of Clean Athletics.
· Governments should commit to ensuring that their national anti-doping agencies are truly independent, ideally by handing over their management directly to WADA.
· Bans should be extended to a minimum of eight years for serious doping offences to ensure that cheating athletes miss two Olympic or Paralympic cycles. Lifetime bans should also be applied in appropriate cases.
· The supply or procurement of performance enhancing drugs should be criminalised and those in positions of authority who are found to be involved in such practices should be banned for life from any involvement in sport.
· Anti-doping agencies should be renamed Clean Sport, or their equivalent in local language – for example Clean Sport UK – to emphasise the ultimate purpose of their activities.
· Finally, UK Athletics commits to exploring how to best legally implement a rule that will result in athletes who commit a serious anti-doping violation receiving a lifetime ban from representing Great Britain.
The publication of the manifesto comes six days after IAAF president Seb Coe released details of a “road map” for athletics.
In response to UKA’s proposals, the IAAF said: “We welcome this framework from UKA and look forward to engaging in their process for moving it forward.
The statement continued: “The IAAF is currently driving some of these changes forward such as increasing out of competition testing and devoting commercial revenue to anti doping as outlined earlier this year. The IAAF registered testing pool will double, as will its testing budget, which represents over 50% of participants in the IAAF WC and all potential medal winners. Each of these athletes tested will automatically have an ABP profile created.
“We look forward to reviewing the recommendations in full over the coming days.”
Also on Monday, UKA outlined key recommendations following the findings of the independent audit into the governing body’s engagement with the Alberto Salazar-led Oregon Project last year.
In September, UKA announced that a performance oversight group comprising Jason Gardener, Dr Sarah Rowell and Anne Wafula-Strike had found “no reason to be concerned” about the engagement of British athletes and coaches with the Oregon Project.
“We had said we would wait until the USADA report before publishing but the need for transparency overrides our previously stated position,” commented Warner on Monday.
While highlighting that the review did not find any evidence of inappropriate behaviour or actions on behalf of UKA staff or consultants, UKA added that it did conclude there were a number of processes that could be further strengthened so UKA could “have the confidence that everything possible was being done to ensure all British athletes compete clean and that long term athlete health and well-being will always be given the highest priority”.
The core recommendations regarding UKA’s performance governance processes include extending the remit of the performance oversight committee to ensure full and proper recording of all medical, legal and ethical considerations prior to the implementation of all athlete performance programmes.
UKA will also undertake and record the process of due diligence whenever a World Class Performance Programme-supported athlete wishes to move to a foreign coach, or when UKA considers having a working relationship with a coach or consultant.
Full details of the core recommendations can be found here.
“Now more than ever athletics needs to demonstrate it is prepared to make further changes and go that extra mile to remain at the forefront of clean sport,” said Warner.
“Current best practice does not guarantee future best practice and while the POC (performance oversight committee) have been reassured by the processes we currently have in place, we are all committed to ensuring that we are able to maintain these standards into the future.”