Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
UK Anti-Doping generates more money from testing for sports than it spends on testing, analysis of its 2015/16 annual report has revealed. The agency generated £1.992 million from its testing activities during the financial year – more than the £1.76 million it spent on athlete testing. However, these figures do not take into account the additional £1.52 million the agency spent on sample costs and legal fees, which are grouped together in its annual accounts.
The number of tests and ADRVs are slightly down on last year. UKAD said that it conducted 7,101 ‘successful tests’ during the 2015/16 financial year, leading to 29 anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs). During 2014/15, UKAD conducted 7,643 tests resulting in 33 ADRVs. UKAD also spent £2,000 less on education during 2015/16, when it spent £278,000 as compared to £280,000 a year earlier.
A simple division of the amount spent on athlete testing by the number of tests conducted gives a cost per test of just under £250 for 2015/16. If this figure is accurate, this would mean that testing costs have come down since October last year, when UKAD Chair David Kenworthy told the BBC that a standard urine test costs £371 and each standard athlete biological passport test costs £439.
However, such figures do not take into account the cost of intelligence operations. During 2015/16, UKAD worked with the UK’s National Crime Agency, the US Drug Enforcement Agency and police on Operation Underground, which led to the closure of three underground drug laboratories and seven arrests in the UK.
The 2015/16 year also included the Rugby World Cup, during which UKAD collected 468 samples from 20 teams. 200 of these samples were collected in competition and 268 out of competition, as part of an intelligence-led operation.
UKAD faces a tough financial year, and is likely to face increased costs. These could materialise from working with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to provide adequate testing for Russian athletes whilst the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and Moscow laboratory remain suspended; as well as additional costs due to sending investigators overseas to investigate allegations that British athletes were supplied with prohibited substances by Kenyan doctors. However, it will receive a grant aid increase of 7% over the next four years to help cover any additional costs, following a decrease in grant aid income during 2015/16.
‘Finding the odd flawed athlete is the norm but finding that whole systems are corrupt and that governance of sport is woefully inadequate and also possibly corrupt threatens the wholesome face of all sport’, warned Kenworthy, who is into his last year as UKAD Chair. ‘I have been privileged to lead a world-class organisation. The work of anti-doping organisations has never been more important. Corruption in all its guises should have no hiding place and I am confident that, as I hand over the reins during the next year, UKAD will continue to protect clean sport as vigorously as it has done for the last six years.’
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