Italy won’t bow to drugs pressure

31Oct05

The International Olympic Committee has conceded defeat in its effort to persuade the Italian government to impose a moratorium on a stringent law against doping during the Turin Games, which begin Feb. 10.”It is clear indeed that there will be no amendments on the law,” Jacques Rogge, the I.O.C. president, said Friday at the conclusion of this week’s executive board meetings.Now the I.O.C. will begin planning for the possibility of athletes or coaches being arrested during the Games. “We feel confident that a working solution will be found,” Rogge said.

I.O.C. Stops Fighting Doping Laws in Turin – New York Times

So, are we likely to see athletes taken away to jail for possesing banned substances. That would be some message sent out by the Italian authorities to those who have / are thinking of doping. Despite the best efforts of Wada and the IOC to get the Italian Government to change their minds on the criminal aspect of doping it would appear that domestic politics mean that the existing laws are her to stay. Some athletes have become annoyed with WADA and the IOC’s interference with Italy’s stance on doping, with Canada’s Cross-Country skier and 2002 Gold Medallist Beckie Scott saying:-

“I think that these laws essentially give athletes a choice — come to the Olympics clean or stay home. What is so wrong with that? And why is there so much concern about the athletes who may stay home, or even run the risk of arrest and breaking Italian law by testing positive at the Games? Why such concern and care for those who dope and cheat?”Has all perspective about the importance of fair play, respect for the rules of the Games and respect for our fellow competitors been completely abandoned in favour of ensuring that superstars remain superstars and scandal is avoided?”

TheStar.com – Athletes support Italy on doping

Beckie Scott won her Gold medal over 2 years after the Salt Lake City Games as the two russians who finished ahead of her were found to have doped.

I question whether we will see any participant taken to jail even if they do face a doping ban, the greater fear for the IOC is that the Italian authorities have given themselves carte blanche to raid training camps, Olympic villages/hotels and vehicles containg team members and support staff. It is these ‘support staff’ who will become the fall guys in Italy should a doping scandal break out, take a look at the Juventus doping allegations from 1994-1998 for an illustration of this. The IOC’s concerns look more to be about how the Games are portrayed on TV than how the fight against doping might be won with stronger measures.

Technorati Tags: doping, wada, ioc, turin, olympics, pound, rogge

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