The World Anti-Doping Agency just yesterday added to the list it maintains of countries who do not comply with its guidelines . . . wait for it . . . Great Britain, which as we all know is no less than the host for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games! This word comes from an article in today’s De Morgen, a Flemish newspaper.
Now, at this point the report cannot be confirmed at source, namely at the WADA’s website. Yes, they do post the news there that the organization presented its “Compliance Report” to something called its “Foundation Board” yesterday (working on a Sunday; hmm . . .), at which point it also had its 2012 budget confirmed (frozen from 2011, apparently). But I could not find that Compliance Report available anywhere on that same website; it certainly is not on their “Publications” webpage, and there’s also no mention of who is now on the compliance blacklist and who is not on another page about something called the “Code Compliance Assessment Survey.”
The really remarkable aspect of this report – if true – is why the UK is now being put on this WADA blacklist – joining about fifty other lands – in the first place. It’s not that they have suddenly started to coddle athletes who cheat. Quite the contrary: the British Olympic Committee has voted to ban any athlete caught doping from competitions that it stages for life. In this it took up an idea from the International Olympic Committee – which the latter, however, never implemented after complaints from the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The British Committee, however, did; this ban is now in effect in competitions under its jurisdiction for anyone caught doping. But banning-for-life does not conform to WADA standards – as with the Court of Arbitration, it is too strict! So the British go on the blacklist; the article mentions that they could even lose their awarding of next year’s Olympic Games! Surely that latter prospect is purely theoretical, but WADA Chairman John Fahey still remarked for the press:
It’s a shame that things have had to come so far. To the Court of Arbitration’s decision we reacted in a correct manner and asked the British to review their viewpoint, but they refuse all discussion. It’s not for me to decide what must happen now. There are quite a few countries on the list and we will assist them all to come back into conformity.