The writer of the independent World Anti-Doping Agency report which uncovered evidence of institutionalized doping in Russian game said on Tuesday that athletes should be duty-bound to report instances where they understand of medication use by others.
Canadian law professor Richard McLaren said the system could be modelled on principles regulating match-fixing where failing to report knowledge of a case in several sports is an offence.
However, McLaren, talking at the Play the Game sports convention, stated sports federations would also need to develop trust with the athletes in order for it to work.
“Athletes will need to speak up, they’re on the front line and I think it’s time we considered putting a responsibility (on them) to report corrupt action,” he said. “We can only do this if everybody can be confident it can be carried out in confidence.”
“If you will encourage people to come forward and talk, we have to have rigorous and strict confidentiality. That trust must be established. They (athletes) has to be convinced they can be and will be protected.”
Speaking to reporters afterwards, McLaren said the responsibility could be included in “the athletes’ contract with their sport.
“In match-fixing, it is a necessity and something similar could be achieved with regard to doping issues.”
But he conceded that, in match-fixing, athletes frequently turned a blind eye to wrongdoing by coworkers despite facing bans for doing this.
“I understand quite well the culture to keep it in the locker room,” he said. “That could be a issue, but if you run better schooling and you build trust relationships with the game, it may work.”
“It is not an ideal solution but it’s far better than what we have now,” he said.
McLaren added that, having got the advice, sports federations then had a duty to conduct a proper evaluation — something which often didn’t occur.
“The data flows into these businesses, disappears and then is not acted on,” he said.
McLaren’s WADA-commissioned report published last year found that over 1,000 Russian competitors in more than 30 sports were involved in a conspiracy to hide positive drug tests within a period of five decades.
Russia, which has always denied state-sponsored doping, has refused to take all of the report’s findings.
Courtesy: The Globe And Mail