Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The German Olympic committee (DOSB) has issued a 12-page document listing concerns with the Federal Government’s plans to criminalise doping through a Doping in Sport Bill, which was introduced by the Federal Government on 12 November last year. “We have major concerns over the criminalisation of self-doping”, a DOSB spokesperson told the Sports Integrity Initiative. “In Germany, an individual has the right of self-determination – in other words, he has the right to harm himself, even kill himself. Why should sport be any different? We are concerned that if self-doping is criminalised, this principle could come back to haunt sport – for example in forming the basis to a legal challenge.”
The DOSB is also concerned that any attempt to criminalise doping could also affect the jurisdiction of sports to settle its disputes outside of a court of law. This principle has already been threatened by a 15 January ruling in a Munich Court (Oberlandesgericht München) allowing speed skater Claudia Pechstein to proceed in a damages claim against the International Skating Union (ISU). In its ruling, the Munich court declared the agreement to arbitrate all cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as void. The DOSB has already asked the ISU to consider a retrial of Pechstein’s case.
The spokesperson added that apart from these two issues, which it describes as ‘critical’ in its 12-page document, the DOSB supports the efforts made by the Federal Government. ‘We fully support further criminal sanctions, including a leniency programme and their bundling with the relevant provisions of the German Pharmaceutical Act in an “anti-doping law”, if those rules are proportional and are without prejudice to our sporting courts’, reads the document.
Other provisions within the Bill include measures to facilitate the sharing of information between prosecutors and Germany’s anti-doping agency (NADA), and the provision of a legal basis permitting NADA to collect and process personal data of athletes. The DOSB’s document was sent to Germany’s Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Ministry of Health on 28 January, as part of the consultation process over the Bill.
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