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The monthly law journal providing guidance on all aspects of sports law, including licensing and sports data, anti-doping and doping sanctions, TV and broadcasting rights, sport technology, players agents, disciplinary measures, sports integrity, sports betting, player contracts, intellectual property, transfer regulations, sports sponsorship and marketing, and governance, as well as coverage of key legal cases, sporting regulations and governing bodies including the IOC, UEFA and FIFA and sporting events such as London 2012. / read more
As the front page of April's World Sports Law Report illustrates, the fight against doping has seldom been out of the news since we closed Twickenham's doors on our Tackling Doping in Sport conference in mid-March. Rightly or (more probably) wrongly, the public perception is that doping in sport is on the increase, not that sport is getting better at catching the cheats. Cases such as that involving Lance Armstrong and the conclusion of the Operación Puetro trial only exacerbate that, as the perception is that guilty parties have not been brought to justice.
That is why it is important to highlight new approaches to the problem, such as what the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) are attempting to do in Kenya. As highlighted in this issue in an article about the Australian Crime Commission report into doping, there is a growing feeling that the current testing regime - which still relies largely on urine tests - is not performing well. More simply put, some take the view that sport is not catching the cheats.
Athlete Biological Passports are an expensive option, but harder to hoodwink than one-off tests. The problem is that up until now, they have been seen as only workable in richer, western societies that can both afford the programme and can access a laboratory within the 36-hour time window. The IAAF's practical solution - to take the laboratory to the problem - needs to be supported and welcomed by sport.
I recently read an Indian newspaper article suggesting reasons why doping in Indian sport had ‘massively increased’ during the last year. I would suggest that it hasn't, but that Indian sport has begun to realise firstly that doping is an issue and, secondly, that Indian athletes are doping. The IAAF doesn't have the benefit of working with other sports in Kenya, but taking the example of India, imagine what could be achieved if cricket, hockey and football worked together on such a programme.
The opportunities presented by this initiative are immense. Since we started organising Tackling Doping in Sport in 2008, every annual event has bemoaned the lack of a 'level playing field' - i.e. athletes in rich countries get tested, whereas those in poorer, remote locations do not. Here is sport's chance to build a solution to address that problem.
• World Sports Law Report will be hosting its Player Contracts 2013 conference on 11 July in central London. For more information, visit http://www.cecileparkconferences.com/player-contracts-2013