The social dimension of sport in EU: the fight against doping

Giuseppe Madonna and Domenico Tafuri

The White Paper on Sport (2007) analyses the phenomenon of doping, seen as a “worldwide threat” to sport, including in Europe. At a European level, the fight against doping must hinge on different dimensions: repression, health and prevention. The leading role, internationally, goes to WADA (Word Anti-Doping Agency), founded in public-private partnership, created by the will of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in 1999 in Lausanne to coordinate the fight against doping in sport. Among the most important organizations in Europe that are committed to the fight against doping without a doubt the UEFA Union of European Football Associations, the administrative, organizational and European football’s control, has a primary role. The UEFA control program is already one of the world’s best in team sports, but now it will enter a new dimension with the introduction of the so-called Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) in the official anti-doping program.

The White Paper on Sport, presented on 11 July 2007, is the result of consultations and proposals that involved all the experts in the field, from sports federations to the Olympic Committees, from Community institutions to Member States, including an online consultation launched in February 2007. It represents the first comprehensive initiative on sport by the European Commission.

The objective of this document is to provide strategic guidance on the role of sport in the European Union, improving its visibility in the European policy and raise awareness of the needs and specificities of the sport sector. As first Global Community initiative in the field of sport, the White Paper examines the community acquis by establishing the Commission Positions on three aspects of European sport: societal role, economic dimension of sport and the organization of sport.

Regarding the societal role of sport, the paper refers sport as a human activity that greatly interests citizens of the European Union and has that enormous potential able to bring together and reach everyone, regardless of age or social background. About 60% of European citizens regularly participate in sports activities, independently or included in one of the 700.000 existing sport clubs, owned by a number of associations and federations. The majority of sport activities takes place in amateur structures. Professional sport has a growing importance and contributes equally to the societal role of sport. In addition to improve the health of European citizens, sport has an educational dimension and plays a social, cultural and recreational role, culture. Its social role can also strengthen the Union’s external relations.

Several points are analyzed, the first of which is the improvement of public health through physical activity. It points out that the lack of physical activity is responsible for the onset of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, which generally reduce the quality of life; Therefore, the Commission’s call is to work together with Member States in order to set new physical activity guidelines and to support a European network of health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA SO-CALLED: Health-EnhancingPhysical Activity).
The fight against doping

 

The White Paper also analyses the phenomenon of doping, seen as a “worldwide threat” to sport, including in Europe. It undermines the principle of open and fair competition, representing a discouraging factor for sport in general and puts the professionals under unreasonable pressure. It gravely affects the image of the field and seriously threatens the health of individuals. At a European level, the fight against doping must hinge on different dimensions:  repression, health and prevention. The Commission advocates partnerships between law enforcement agencies of the Member States, laboratories accredited by WADA (World Anti Doping Agency), and Interpol to exchange in a timely and secure way information about new practices and new doping substances. It also addresses to sport organizations for both a greater diffusion of information, and education of young athletes on doping problem.

At a European level, the awareness campaigns against doping, count on the support of the most important European institutions engaged in sports. Among many others, it should be considered first of all WADA, the global agency operating in the fight against doping; at a European level, however, UEFA is the biggest institution that has been fighting doping and creating awareness campaigns to promote sport education throughout Europe. The fight against this phenomenon, therefore, not only does call for a direct action against persons who use illicit substances, but it also aims at acting in order to prevent, through a growing work of information, and educating young people about the problem.

The leading role, internationally, goes to WADA (Word Anti-Doping Agency), founded in public-private partnership, created by the will of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in 1999 in Lausanne to coordinate the fight against doping in sport. Its Board of Trustees is made up of 40 members, of which 17 designated by the IOC, 17 designated by governmental organizations and the remaining 6 by the Foundation Board.

WADA ‘s decision-making powers are mainly in the hands of members of IOC and other sports bodies, leaving little room to representatives of the other organizations that are part of it.

The Agency’s aims are:

• to promote and to coordinate internationally the fight against doping in all its forms, inside or outside the competition;

• to strengthen international ethical principles for a healthy sport and thus to protect the health of athletes;

• to establish, to modify and to update the organization of spot checks outside competitions;

• to develop, to harmonize and to unify the scientific and technical standards of procedures concerning the analysis of the samples;

• to promote balanced rules, disciplinary procedures, sanctions and other means to fight doping in sport, contributing to the its unification, taking into account the rights of athletes;

• to develop education and prevention programs at international level in order to promote the practice of a clean sport with ethical principles;

• to promote and to coordinate research in the fight against doping in sport.

To achieve its purposes, WADA has issued a worldwide program approved for the first time in March 2003 in Copenhagen, on the occasion of the world conference on doping. Said program consists of the following levels:

• Level 1: the new World Anti-Doping Code for all purposes replaces the IOC. The Code is the fundamental and universal document and is the base of World Anti-Doping Program;

• Level 2: the international standards, which tend to harmonize specific aspects of technical and operational nature of the program;

• Level 3: Development of Models of Best Practice, models of regulation aimed at the different groups who join the program, such as national anti-doping agencies or international federations.

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Leggi l’articolo completo: Giuseppe Madonna and Domenico Tafuri, The social dimension of sport in EU: the fight against doping, in Scienze e Ricerche n. 31, 15 giugno 2016, pp. 14-17