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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 18:07 GMT
Wada to herald new drugs approach
By Matt Slater

Drugs in sport
Recent US drugs busts have boosted the anti-doping cause
The World Anti-Doping Agency is set to outline how the fight against sport's drugs cheats must now be waged by police forces as much as scientists.

Wada will tell delegates at a landmark summit this week that more co-operation between government and sport is vital.

David Howman, Wada's director general, told BBC Sport: "To catch cheats you can conduct tests - that gets some.

"And you can also gather evidence through investigatory agencies. You cannot rely on one method."

Howman was speaking two months after the US Drugs Enforcement Agency pulled off the largest steroids bust in history, Operation Raw Deal.

In an investigation that involved law enforcement agencies from nine other countries and Interpol, 11.4 million steroid dosages were seized, 124 arrests made and 56 labs shut down.

I believe cooperation with governments is essential - this was always a partnership
John Fahey
It also identified 37 Chinese factories that were supplying 99% of the raw material for making steroids in the US. This was seen as particularly significant as a previous DEA sting, Operation Gear Grinder, had shut down eight Mexican labs that made 80% of the illicit steroids imported into the US.

"We are informed by the Chinese authorities that they will take every step to shut the factories down and we believe them," said Howman.

"But that doesn't mean others will not take their place. The bigger question is will those others be in China or somewhere else.

"It's a constant battle. We can't just sit back and say 'ah, Operation Raw Deal was the answer'. It was just one answer."

With that in mind, Wada will also elect a new president and adopt a revised anti-doping code at the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport, which starts in Madrid on Thursday and runs until Saturday.

Marion Jones
Law enforcement agencies caught Marion Jones, not drugs testers
John Fahey, a former Australian finance minister and premier of New South Wales, is the only candidate to replace Dick Pound as Wada president - although that may change - and it is his experience of government that is believed to have got him this close to the top job.

Fahey, 60, told BBC Sport: "I hope to maximise the effort of government - using my background in government - to achieve the objectives of Wada.

"I believe co-operation with governments is essential. This was always a partnership.

"It's achieved significant things and we've got to keep that moving forward. We have to maintain the progress made since 1999."

It was then that Wada was set up by the International Olympic Committee, with the support of national governments and other interested parties, to lead the global campaign against drugs cheats.

The Montreal-based organisation was initially funded solely by the IOC but since 2002 has been financed equally by the Olympic movement and national governments.

Public funding has raised the stakes in the anti-doping struggle and US-style stings like Operation Raw Deal are clearly the sign of things to come.

I would hope that any developed nation with the ability to cooperate in (an Operation Raw Deal) has to be on board
David Howman
Wada's director general
"I think the valuable work that has already been achieved underpins the capacity of Wada to be smarter and better, particularly through close cooperation with law enforcement agencies," said Fahey.

"I believe there's a lot to be said for (more Raw Deals). But I also recognise that governments vary in terms of how they wish to apply themselves to such an approach.

"I'll be conscious of that and use my best endeavours to achieve the maximum outcome. But I believe that will ultimately come from the closest cooperation between both arms, government and sport."

Unlike Australia and EU neighbours Belgium, Denmark and Germany, the UK did not take part in Operation Raw Deal, but Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe told BBC Sport that "we would have to be involved (in another Raw Deal)".

Sutcliffe also revealed he has recently chaired a high-level meeting at the Home Office to discuss how the UK could better coordinate its anti-doping efforts. Representatives from the Association of Chief Police Officers, Revenue and Customs, and the Serious Organised Crime Agency attended.

Wada's Howman added: "I would hope that any developed nation with the ability to co-operate in this sort of thing has to be on board."

Jean-Francois Lamour and Dick Pound
Lamour had his eyes on Pound's job but quit the race in anger
While there appears to be consensus on the importance of this new front in the anti-doping fight, the Wada succession is more problematic.

At present, it is more like a coronation than an election. But there has been some speculation that a last-minute rival to Fahey might emerge from Europe.

Fahey was a late candidate himself but his arrival on the scene prompted the previous front-runner, Jean-Francois Lamour, to pull out in high dudgeon.

The former French sports minister and Olympic fencer also quit as Wada's vice-president but not before accusing the organisation of "not having the strength to fight against doping".

But many observers believed the real reason for his exit was a misguided belief that he was going to get a clear run at Pound's job.

An angry Lamour also said Europe should give up on Wada and create its own anti-doping agency.

BBC Sport has spoken to a number of key figures in the anti-doping world and all dismissed Lamour's criticisms - some pointing out that he had plenty of chances to voice them during his time at Wada but did not.

Steroid pills
Pills of the steroid Danabol taken in a German raid last year
But a senior UK source said Lamour's decision to pull out came as a surprise. He also said the matter had been discussed at the recent EU sports ministers' meeting in Portugal and the possibility remained that another late candidate could be proposed.

The departing Pound has also admitted that a second candidate was still possible.

Lamour's supporters have suggested Fahey's candidature was the result of backroom deals between "Anglo-Saxon" nations but the senior UK source said it was more likely that non-European nations were irritated because "we assumed it was our turn" and doubts about Lamour's management abilities.

The revisions to Wada's code, which was introduced at the last conference in 2003, should be far less contentious. The updated code is the product of 18 months of consultation and will come into effect at the start of 2009.

The main change is a firmer approach - four-year bans instead of the current maximum of two years - to doping cases that involve aggravating circumstances, such as the case being part of a larger doping ring.

But there will also be reduced penalties for mitigating circumstances, such as an athlete unintentionally taking a banned product.

And those who come forward to admit doping prior to failing a test or who offer "substantial assistance" to an anti-doping investigation can also expect lesser sentences.

SEE ALSO
Wada plans to increase drug bans
19 Jan 07 |  Other Sport...
Drug-testing cutbacks criticised
18 Apr 05 |  Sport Homepage
IOC urges governments over drugs
01 Apr 05 |  Sport Homepage
USOC defends drugs stance
21 Nov 03 |  Olympics 2012
Bush warned over doping stance
18 Nov 03 |  Olympics 2004
New body tackles drugs in sport
13 Jan 00 |  Europe


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