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3rd December 2015

Sport is becoming a bit of a dope

Will Kelly suggests its the administrators of sporting organisations that really need those performance enhancing drugs…

Forget the individual players, it’s administrators who need performance enhancement if sport is not to soon come crashing down. The world’s sporting governing bodies cannot keep up with the performance enhancing drug use out there, meaning ultimately there will be, for the foreseeable future, less enhancement in those who are supposed to be running the sports. At the moment, the heads of these organisations are currently competing in the Olympics of uselessness. To quote from an excellent article written by Marina Hyde of The Guardian, “It’s time to either clean up sport or simply put the Teletubbies in charge.”

As of last week, Russia’s Athletics Federation has accepted its ban from international competition without requesting a hearing. How they could have even attempted to defend themselves is perhaps in the loose sense, like suggesting that the Americans ‘faked’ the moon landing. This was essentially a state-sponsored doping programme that sabotaged the London 2012 Olympics, and the word ‘ludicrous’ doesn’t give justice to what an appalling situation it really is.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko had originally dismissed the IAAF’s “immediate sanction” as a minor inconvenience and said that “nothing will happen.” The IAAF will be holding a meeting in Monaco on Thursday to determine the measures Russia needs to implement to be reinstated to world athletics.

It’s quite frankly laughable that it was only in August that the President of the IAAF, Britain’s Lord Coe, declared: “There is nothing in our history of integrity in drug testing to warrant attack,” and that the press were simply wrong in their reports of suspicious blood tests involving hundreds of athletes over a ten-year period. His terminal defense on athletics is as dogged as his refusal to realize that his own conflict of interest in roles as IAAF and his ambassadorial role for Nike. Coe has come under scrutiny that he was still receiving £100,000 a year from Nike whilst an email obtained by the BBC appear to show Coe in discussions with a senior Nike Executive over for the 2021 World Athletic Championships for Eugene. The calls for Coe to quit his Nile role mirror that of the sportswear giant’s slogan, “Just Do it”.

IAAF would ultimately win gold in the race for the most useless sporting organization out there in regards to doping in sport. Boxing may soon join the race after Wythenshawe Boxing maniac Tyson Fury has come out recently suggesting boxing has a big problem with doping. However, this is of course the same man who has recently suggested that paedophilia will shortly be legalised because the “devil’s” ideas of abortion and homosexuality are legalised in this world. Wladmir Klitschko’s comment, that this man has the “brain of a squirrel,” is perhaps the most polite way of putting it.

Up then steps the Wales Rugby Board onto the podium, who appear to have reverted to the “but so does everyone else” card. Martyn Phillips, Chief Executive of the Wales Rugby Board, has been asserting that doping is not just a rugby issue but in fact “a challenge for everybody,” despite the fact a third of the British sportsmen and women currently banned for doping are from Wales, including 17 club rugby players from both codes.

Normally, there will be something every week that would entice someone to have a rant about how corrupt and awful FIFA as an organisation is and the astonishment that Sepp Blatter has not left football yet. But we now turn to another football organisation in UEFA, the European Football Association.

Dinamo Zagreb’s Arijan Ademi failed a drug test after his side defeated Arsenal in the Champions League group stage. The midfielder, who played the full 90 minutes as Zagreb defeated Arsène Wenger’s side 2-1 in September. Of course, this is not enough to actually get the team thrown out of the competition, because this apparently requires two people to have positive test results, as ridiculous as that sounds.

How can organisations such as UEFA not realize that the only way to stop cheating is maybe to threaten the innocent as well as the guilty, and ban teams from their competitions? The authorities appear to have struggled by other means.

Ultimately, it’s time for sport to wake up. The widespread allegations of doping have become ridiculous, and sport itself will go into decline if these organisations do not do something about it.

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