WADA: We can't win dope fight

2012-11-12 21:02

Paris - The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency believes the Lance Armstrong case is just part of a wide-ranging doping battle that will never be won.

Speaking on Monday at a conference on how to increase cooperation between the pharmaceutical industry and anti-doping bodies, WADA president John Fahey cautioned against euphoria in the wake of the US investigation that led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

"Do I feel we're winning the fight? The answer is no," Fahey said. "I think what (the) Armstrong (case) tells me is, bubbling away below the surface there are still problems that could surface at any time.

"Are we cleaner? Look, this is a fight sadly that will never be won."

The US Anti-Doping Agency accused Armstrong of helping run the most sophisticated doping program in sports within his US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams. USADA's report included witness testimony from many of Armstrong's former team-mates.

"I believe there's far greater awareness," Fahey said. "We've got more knowledge of the damage that can happen, and I believe that each time we can catch someone in the manner we've seen so sensationally with Armstrong, the deterrent factor is important."

USADA ordered that Armstrong be banned from the sport for life and stripped him of his Tour titles - a decision later ratified by the International Cycling Union.

"You asked what we could learn from that case, what are the lessons going forward?" said Fahey, who was joined at the conference by IOC President Jacques Rogge. "Those teams consisted not only of athletes but a fairly extensive entourage who supported what was occurring over that period."

WADA director general David Howman praised USADA's efforts in tackling Armstrong.

"USADA could have just sat back and said 'This is too hard,' but they didn't," Howman told The Associated Press in a separate interview.

"It shows the clean athlete that you cannot sit back and let a bully take over," Howman added. "The bully took over, and he survived for a while and now he's fallen off the perch."

Howman thinks it is unlikely Armstrong, who has always denied doping, will ever confess to cheating.

"I didn't see any confession coming from his tweet, where he was lounging around in front of his seven Tour paraphernalia," Howman said.

Armstrong posted a photograph on Twitter over the weekend in which he is lying on a couch at his home in Texas with seven yellow Tour de France jerseys mounted on the wall. He tweeted: "Back in Austin and just layin' around..."

French Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron called it "a further provocation, without any doubt."

The French Anti-Doping Agency worked with pharmaceutical companies to develop tests for CERA - a form of the blood-booster EPO - which led to four cyclists testing positive on the 2008 Tour and several athletes at the Beijing Olympics in the same year.
But Fahey expressed fears that unlicensed products flooding the market are getting out of control, and that drug companies have an even greater role to play in helping stop the flow.

"Detecting what might be performance enhancing at an early stage," he said. "Eliminating doping in sport, right down to our fitness centres right around the world. We always talk about the elite, but the problem is far more widespread."

Rogge agreed that the anti-doping fight must go further than catching the cheating athlete.

"Corruption in sports invariably implicates other forms of corruption. Sophisticated doping often implicates organized crime networks which operate beyond national borders," Rogge said. "We need help from governments, but also those who are there to apply the law, scientists, the medical community, coaches and the pharmaceutical industry."

Rogge called for more out-of-competition tests to "detect cheats even before they arrive" at events.

"Doping cartels are constantly seeking new ways to avoid detection and they always seek new substances," Rogge said. "It is heartening to see that several pharmaceutical industries have contributed to anti-doping efforts."

Philip Thomson, vice-president for global communications at GlaxoSmithKaline, said he hopes his company is joined by others in helping WADA identify areas where it can catch drug cheats, even though confidentiality becomes a sensitive issue when sharing information.

"It is a challenge, there's no doubt about it," he said. "But it's also inevitable that we will have to work with other companies... We work with over 55 countries externally to discover new medicines."

Howman said sport at all levels - professional or amateur - has the potential to interest illegal markets.

"The increasing engagement of the criminal underworld in providing banned substances, the incentive to engage in trafficking remains very high," Howman said. "The substances they attain are raw materials delivered from the east and put together in kitchen laboratories, unregulated and unsanitised... that should be of a major concern to all governmental authorities."

Drug trafficking in the underworld is linked to the same criminals involved in "money laundering, corruption, betting and fraud," Howman said.


  • alan.forbes.3344 - 2012-11-12 21:23

    At least WADA try but the IRB officials are fixing matches before our eyes using "player 16" to rig matches and denying it - at some point someone will take them on and the truth will out.

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-12 21:53

      Fire Fahey and his cronies. Find someone who has the guts and the ability to take on doping and win the fight.

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-11-12 22:20

      100% Correct! Match fixing is the only reason the Boks have won any games this year!

      badladballie - 2012-11-12 22:25

      careful now jimmy boy

  • ashraf.g.arendse - 2012-11-12 21:25

    The war on doping will never be won. Too many athletes celebrities, actors admit to steroids. Kids at school are receptive to it because of there idols. Lance was just unfortunate!

  • Daniel Jayson Brink - 2012-11-12 21:48

    The days of honest and true sportsmanship are over and have been for a long while.

  • malcolm.williams.144 - 2012-11-12 22:19

    Stop dope testing and legalize it. Then there will be no unfair advantage. Pro bodybuilding as an example, and it works. The most time, effort, discipline, and solid determination and hard work still wins the day.

      badladballie - 2012-11-12 22:30

      ja why not! start an anything goes league and see what happens....being the weired creatures us humans are i bet it will get higher viewer ratings than the all natural guys

      Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-11-13 05:42

      Well, if you see that as possible, stop bitching about fraud and corruption in all spheres of life. Society will self-destruct within years, and you will lie crying like a baby

  • adriaan.olivier.589 - 2012-11-12 23:11

    Oh great, the powers that be have completed their goal to slay the yellow unicorn lance, now they can sit back and relax and declare the rest of the war cannot be won, so all the other dopers that lance raced against are alright and free to go, because the mission has been accomplished. Now those cyclists can rest easy and start pumping the EPO tomorrow morning to get ready for another unbelievably fast paced TDF and the governing bodies won't care because they need the speed to keep the TV ratings up. Unfortunately for lance they already milked him to the last drop so he was ready to be slaughtered.

  • werner.schyns.9 - 2012-11-12 23:15

    Jimmy I like your common sense

  • faizieishlah.shabalala - 2012-11-13 05:37

    I would pay to see a guy run 100metres in 5 seconds. Dope or no dope. Time for the Freak Olympics

  • alfred.killian - 2012-11-13 05:43

    I am sure that, while Lance is just lying around, his lawyers are not, if they can proof that the uci did not do enough to clamp down on drug offenders, one of them even said something like, they kind of allow it because the public wants to see cyclist going at 28mph, rather than 28kmh. They may have an excuse not to pay back the prize money.

  • Kevin - 2012-11-13 07:28

    This shows again the witch hunt against LA - why has no effort been made to go after all other winners of the tour.....afterall they all tested negative as did LA....??

  • neil.ross.5473 - 2012-11-13 08:15

    Just legalise doping. Let all the idiots win their little races and games today, have pimples, tiny cocks, shrunken testicles (testicle) and massive self doubt and low self worth. Then let's re-run the same games as a master's series when everyone is over forty-five. Let's see who is still alive. Hey Lance, you gave your left nut to win the Tour, was it worth it?

      gcwilhelm - 2012-11-13 09:16

      an idiot with all the dope in the world cant win the tour de france, it takes alot more than just dope. have you seen lance with pimples you moron!! i bet you his cocks is also bigger than yours!!!! with or without steroids the best will always be the best! who cares if he used, i bet all the other top guys was using as well. and he will sure as hell tell you it was worth it!!!!

      marc.hugo.75 - 2012-11-13 10:54

      Well, firstly Neil, Lance got testicular cancer for reasons completely dissociated from steroids. Testicular tissue is non-responsive to exogenous androgens; in fact only the prostate gland is negatively affected and only in a benign way as cessation of therapy results in a return to normal organ size. Bit of a ball-drop for you, being wrong and all. As for reduced life spans owing to the use of anabolic steroids!! If that is true, why is testosterone a central core part of therapy in life-extensionist programmes. Because they increase length and quality life. If they were so deadly, please show me the bodies. There are none. You think pimples are a problem that can't be sorted out? Over-active sebaceous glands are not going to bring the world to the brink of war. Try taking a shower and this time, use some soap. Penis size is not affected (what hysterical magazine have you been reading for your medical data?). Testicular atrophy is wholly reversible, so no issues there. You may have some since you bring it up. And how do you know that athletes have "massive self doubt and low self worth". They are surrounded by the worlds most beautiful women and seem perfectly normal to me - and I work all day with these people. I speak from real world experience. So, in the face of a futile fight, let's legalise doping right away. What we should be banning is pencil neck non-achievers.

  • robert.p.gemmell - 2012-11-13 15:17

    The biggest reason is that sportsman and woman are getting paid to much money. Where has the love of the game gone, where money was 2nd to the love of playing the sport. Who would ever think that soccer players as an example would get 100 000 pounds plus a week. ridiculios!!!! take money out and see what happens

      alfred.killian - 2012-11-13 16:59

      Money has got nothing to do with the will to win, even the guys competing for the 1000th place in the Argus wil take big risks to move up one place, boys will be boys.

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