Is it time that we start sending drugs cheats in sport to prison?

Sports people who take performance enhancing drugs could go to prison the Cheltenham Literature Festival learned.

Former chairman on the British Olympic Association and sport minister Colin Moynihan, now a peer in the House of Lords said there is draft legislation to make sports doping a criminal offence in the UK.

He told the audience in Cheltenham Town Hall for the festival event The Doping Debate: “Most sports now are professional- if you knowingly take a cocktail of banned drugs to improve your performance, to cheat, you are defrauding your competitors ; you are defrauding the ones who are clean who never make it to the top , let alone the ones you beat for the major prizes. In any other business that’s fraud, and it should be in sport too.”

Lord Moynihan who was on a panel with Sunday Times Insight team editor Jonathan Calvert, cyclist and doping whistleblower Dan Stevens and chairman journalist Simon Jenkins, added: “The offence will be knowingly taking illegal drugs in an attempt to cheat for those athletes who are already at a high level of sport. It’s a high bar that needs to be passed for a conviction and it should be.”

The wide-ranging debate heard form Jonathan Calvert whose team broke the story last year of the extraordinary number of suspicious tests given by medal-winning track and field athletes over 12 years. He said: “We had experts look at a database of 12,000 tests administered to athletes over that time and they were astonished by the extent of it all.”

Dan Stevens listed the evidence he says he gave to national and international authorities about his experience of doping as a cyclist and said nothing was done. But he said that use of drugs and hormones was also endemic in society, such as HRT for menopausal women, and suggested it might never be eradicated from sport as it was so prevalent.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>