18 May 2018

UK Government not to revisit criminalisation of doping in sport

The UK Government has again clarified that it will not ‘revisit’ the issue of whether doping in sport should be criminalised, its its response to the Combatting Doping in Sport Report (PDF below) released by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee of the UK Parliament on 5 March. Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, wrote that she is ‘content’ with the conclusions of an October 2017 Review, adding that she does ‘not feel there is a case to revisit this matter at the current time’.

The October 2017 Review (PDF below) concluded: ‘There is no compelling case to criminalise the act of doping in the UK’, however it was commissioned to investigate whether there was a need to create a specific criminal offence for doping in sport. It did conclude that ‘the UK’s national approach to combating doping could be strengthened through better use of existing powers, improved data sharing and more effective liaison between sports governing bodies, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and the relevant law enforcement agencies’.

Crouch also takes issue with the DCMS Report’s contention (para. 128 of its Report) that UKAD is running the courts it is trying athletes in. ‘UKAD is not responsible for arbitration and, in line with the World Anti-Doping Code, the UK has an independent arbitration service’, she writes. ‘Sports Resolutions operates the National Anti-Doping Panel, under a contract from DCMS and in accordance with the UK National Anti-Doping Policy’. Crouch pointed out that a Review of the UK’s National Anti-Doping Policy is ‘about to begin’. 

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