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Daily Telegraph

IN A devastating secret memorandum, the International Association of Athletics Federations have admitted that their own anti-doping measures have failed to curb drug cheats.

The document goes on to say that many national federations, including some with high-profile successful athletes, try to “hide guilty parties or cover up” doping cases.

In the memorandum, a copy of which is in the possession of The Daily Telegraph, the world governing body for athletics also admit: “The doping-related incidents in Athens and earlier this year are evidence that neither national federations nor the IAAF are doing enough to ensure fair competition and a positive reputation for athletics. There are weakness in our rules, our policies and the enforcement of our rules.”

This frank internal document, which is entitled After Athens — Improving the Athletics Anti-Doping Campaign, sheds light on the depressing reality behind the rhetoric of the battle against doping. Success is often claimed in the war on drugs but the hollowness of such claims was highlighted by the saga surrounding the two Greek athletes, Kostas Kenteris and Ikaterini Thanou, at the Olympics.

The memo says: “There is ample evidence that many federations are not conducting OOC [out of competition] testing, but we are not taking any action against the federations. There is also evidence that some federations are deliberately undermining the anti-doping system: providing inaccurate information, not investigating doping cases, always claiming their athletes are innocent regardless of the facts, and in a few cases conspiring to hide guilty parties or cover up doping infractions.

“These are problems not only with small federations with limited resources. Much more serious is the fact that these problems are occurring in well-established federations with many successful athletes.”

Although no federation are named, some of the better-know ones in Europe and America must be the culprits.

The internal document makes it clear that one of the IAAF’s cherished principles does not work. This is the `three no-shows’ rule, under which an athlete can be banned for a year if he fails to show up for three tests over an 18-month period.

The memo says: “Why do we permit three no-shows before declaring an infraction? This is much too generous and allows athletes to escape detection. The whereabouts reporting system does not work well. We do not have accurate information. When athletes are not where the whereabouts system says they are, we do not take action. It appears that athletes and federations are not always formally notified for failure to provide accurate and timely whereabouts information.”

For instance, the IAAF did not tell SEGAS, the Greek athletics federation, that Kenteris had missed a drug test in Tel Aviv on July 27.

One of the problems with the IAAF’s anti-doping procedure is that staff report to one person: the general-secretary, Istvan Gyulai. But, says the memo: “Our anti-doping system is not transparent. There are many council members who are knowledgeable about anti-doping but are not kept properly informed. It leads to questions about the integrity of our anti-doping programme.”

The IAAF take great pride in the fact that they have been at the forefront of drug testing long before other sports federations or even the International Olympic Committee, but the memo confesses: “The issue is not whether the IAAF is doing more than any other federation. That is irrelevant. The real issue is whether we are doing enough. It is obvious that we are not.”

The memo proposes that a five-man task force make a thorough review of procedures and the management and reporting structure of the IAAF’s anti-doping programme, along with a report of the 12 months leading up to the Athens Games.

This report will undoubtedly focus on why the IAAF failed to prevent the case of Kenteris and Thanou overshadowing the Olympics. The IAAF had hoped that, by taking action against American sprinter Jerome Young, who had failed a test, it would eliminate doping as a problem at Athens. But Kenteris and Thanou demolished that hope.

The memo asks: “Why, for example, were we unable to deal with the Greek situation well before the Olympics? If we have a good anti-doping programme, as we claim, how did the two gold medallists escape detection prior to the Olympics?”

Ever since the two athletes missed their test the IAAF have held talks with SEGAS. Last night also saw the revelation of a letter from Vassilios Sevastis, the president of SEGAS, to Lamine Diack, president of the IAAF, trying to defend his federation.

The revelation of the IAAF’s secret memo will come as a devastating blow. Only yesterday both Rogge and Diack expressed their satisfaction at the way the battle against drugs was going. Rogge said: “The general public knows we mean business.” At a party held by Laureus in Athens, Diack lauded the efforts made by his organisation to catch drug cheats, saying: “We will try and clean up our sports.”

Drug cheats are being caught. Yesterday Russia’s 400 metres runner, Anton Galkin, who failed to qualify for the final, was banned after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

But the memo reveals that all this is merely scratching the surface.

© Mihir Bose

IAAF admit failure in the war on drug cheats

Daily Telegraph
August 27, 2004

IN A devastating secret memorandum, the International Association of Athletics Federations have admitted that their own anti-doping measures have failed to curb drug cheats.

The document goes on to say that many national federations, including some with high-profile successful athletes, try to “hide guilty parties or cover up” doping cases.

In the memorandum, a copy of which is in the possession of The Daily Telegraph, the world governing body for athletics also admit: “The doping-related incidents in Athens and earlier this year are evidence that neither national federations nor the IAAF are doing enough to ensure fair competition and a positive reputation for athletics. There are weakness in our rules, our policies and the enforcement of our rules.”

This frank internal document, which is entitled After Athens — Improving the Athletics Anti-Doping Campaign, sheds light on the depressing reality behind the rhetoric of the battle against doping. Success is often claimed in the war on drugs but the hollowness of such claims was highlighted by the saga surrounding the two Greek athletes, Kostas Kenteris and Ikaterini Thanou, at the Olympics.

The memo says: “There is ample evidence that many federations are not conducting OOC [out of competition] testing, but we are not taking any action against the federations. There is also evidence that some federations are deliberately undermining the anti-doping system: providing inaccurate information, not investigating doping cases, always claiming their athletes are innocent regardless of the facts, and in a few cases conspiring to hide guilty parties or cover up doping infractions.

“These are problems not only with small federations with limited resources. Much more serious is the fact that these problems are occurring in well-established federations with many successful athletes.”

Although no federation are named, some of the better-know ones in Europe and America must be the culprits.

The internal document makes it clear that one of the IAAF’s cherished principles does not work. This is the `three no-shows’ rule, under which an athlete can be banned for a year if he fails to show up for three tests over an 18-month period.

The memo says: “Why do we permit three no-shows before declaring an infraction? This is much too generous and allows athletes to escape detection. The whereabouts reporting system does not work well. We do not have accurate information. When athletes are not where the whereabouts system says they are, we do not take action. It appears that athletes and federations are not always formally notified for failure to provide accurate and timely whereabouts information.”

For instance, the IAAF did not tell SEGAS, the Greek athletics federation, that Kenteris had missed a drug test in Tel Aviv on July 27.

One of the problems with the IAAF’s anti-doping procedure is that staff report to one person: the general-secretary, Istvan Gyulai. But, says the memo: “Our anti-doping system is not transparent. There are many council members who are knowledgeable about anti-doping but are not kept properly informed. It leads to questions about the integrity of our anti-doping programme.”

The IAAF take great pride in the fact that they have been at the forefront of drug testing long before other sports federations or even the International Olympic Committee, but the memo confesses: “The issue is not whether the IAAF is doing more than any other federation. That is irrelevant. The real issue is whether we are doing enough. It is obvious that we are not.”

The memo proposes that a five-man task force make a thorough review of procedures and the management and reporting structure of the IAAF’s anti-doping programme, along with a report of the 12 months leading up to the Athens Games.

This report will undoubtedly focus on why the IAAF failed to prevent the case of Kenteris and Thanou overshadowing the Olympics. The IAAF had hoped that, by taking action against American sprinter Jerome Young, who had failed a test, it would eliminate doping as a problem at Athens. But Kenteris and Thanou demolished that hope.

The memo asks: “Why, for example, were we unable to deal with the Greek situation well before the Olympics? If we have a good anti-doping programme, as we claim, how did the two gold medallists escape detection prior to the Olympics?”

Ever since the two athletes missed their test the IAAF have held talks with SEGAS. Last night also saw the revelation of a letter from Vassilios Sevastis, the president of SEGAS, to Lamine Diack, president of the IAAF, trying to defend his federation.

The revelation of the IAAF’s secret memo will come as a devastating blow. Only yesterday both Rogge and Diack expressed their satisfaction at the way the battle against drugs was going. Rogge said: “The general public knows we mean business.” At a party held by Laureus in Athens, Diack lauded the efforts made by his organisation to catch drug cheats, saying: “We will try and clean up our sports.”

Drug cheats are being caught. Yesterday Russia’s 400 metres runner, Anton Galkin, who failed to qualify for the final, was banned after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

But the memo reveals that all this is merely scratching the surface.

© Mihir Bose

      

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