Montag, Februar 23, 2009

Growing protest against anti-doping rules

Dutch social-democrat Member of European Parliament Emine Bozkurt asked UEFA president Michel Platini to call on the football associations in Europe to ignore the new rules of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).

Platini, who spoke in the Parliament, agreed the revised anti-doping rules are problematic and stated "football players too should have the right to holidays and privacy and should not be forced to be available for doping tests 365 days a year. Tests can be conducted during trainings."

Bozkurt says the revised anti-doping rules of the World Anti Doping Agency are in conflict with European privacy legislation. The revised WADA code took effect on the first of January 2009 but is widely criticised. One of the WADA conditions is that athletes need to be available for tests at all times, every hour of the day, every day of the year and that they need to inform the WADA of their whereabouts three months in advance.

The European Commissioner for Sport, Figel, and the Commissioner for Justice, Barrot, are also critical of the revised WADA anti-doping code. This week they said in a reply to questions from Emine Bozkurt that the code should be in accordance with EU law. They have asked legal advice on the issue from a specialised working group and urged the WADA to postpone the implementation of the new code until this working group has finished their report.

The sport world is also negative about the new rules. Rafael Nadal, the world's highest ranking tennis player, referred to the rules as "a disgrace" and an "intolerable hunt." Fellow tennis player Andy Murray made similar statements about the WADA regulations.

Bozkurt strongly supports an effective anti-doping policy but feels this should respect the privacy and civil rights of athletes. The rights of athletes, their privacy and the protection of their personal data are not guaranteed in the new system. The opinions of the athletes need to be taken into account in order to have an effective anti-doping policy and their rights need to be protected.

Press release: Emine Bozkurt (Member of European Parliament)

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