ITF officials says new drug policy unworkable [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

ITF officials says new drug policy unworkable

DhammaTiger
06-18-2008, 07:24 PM
I don't know if there is a thread about this subject,if there is than this thread can be deleted.
I spotted this article on the Guardian today and it makes interesting reading. It's quite interesting that the ITF, the world governing body of tennis finds it unworkable;

New drugs policy unworkable, says federation

* Sachin Nakrani
* The Guardian,
* Wednesday June 18 2008
* Article history

The man in charge of tackling drug-taking in tennis has warned of "significant problems" as a result of new rules being introduced by the World Anti-Doping Agency next year.

The concerns of Stuart Miller, head of anti-doping at the International Tennis Federation, centre on the "whereabouts" provision contained in Wada's updated code, which comes into force on January 1. It states that all athletes must notify testers of their precise location for one hour of every day and update that information every three months. A failure to do so or not to be in their named location on three occasions will result in a sanction, which could include a life ban from the sport.

A year-round "whereabouts" policy is already in existence in athletics and was the reason why the 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu was banned from all competition for 12 months in 2006. The 24-year-old missed three drug tests between October 2005 and July of the following year.

But Miller believes that the policy is unworkable in tennis because of the peripatetic nature of competitors - they are currently tested out of competition only in the final six weeks of the year - and that it could lead to a surge in bans.

"Tennis is not like athletics in the sense that those taking part do not map out their training programme and the two or three events they are going to take part in at the start of the year," he said. "Tennis players take part in single-elimination competitions and if they get knocked out on day one of an event they'll simply move on to another one, go home or go on holiday.

"The most important thing from the point of view of the whereabouts provision is that they are not going to be where they said they would be and if you imagine all the players in our pool having to provide us with constantly updated information and us having to keep track of that, it's fair to say there are going to be significant problems going forward. Many players could easily fall foul to a series of missed tests or filing failures quite quickly."

The ATP and WTA have discussed the whereabouts provision with the ITF and, according to Miller, they too believe it "does not fit well with tennis". The players themselves will be notified of the updated Wada code this week and told it will be their responsibility to update any changes to their location.

Sarah Borwell, Britain's sixth-ranked women's singles player, said she was concerned by the new rule. "As a player you can be competing in Mexico one day and Vietnam the next so it is impossible to tell anyone in advance where you are exactly going to be for the next three months," she said. "It may be easier to track the top players and for them to tell the ITF of their whereabouts because most of them have agents, but it will be difficult for the majority of players on the tours.

"In the long term I don't see this working. There is going to be a lot of issues arising from it. I think Wada needs either to change this part of the code or allow more flexibility."

Of the 2,028 drugs tests carried out by the ITF last year only eight produced a positive result and of the 10 players who are currently banned for a drugs violation, none have sentences longer than two years, the most high-profile being Martina Hingis, who tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon last year and is excluded from competition until October next year.
About this article





This article appeared in the Guardian on Wednesday June 18 2008 on p5 of the Sport news & features section. It was last updated at 00:07 on June 18 2008.




* guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008

Merton
06-18-2008, 10:22 PM
Thanks for the article, it is crucial that WADA keeps the responsibility for monitoring the anti-drug testing and that ATP has no say on that. There are practical difficulties but I guess a reasonable compromise would be to have the top players notifying for their whereabouts since it is less costly for them to do so, having their agents and support teams. Who are the top players? Top 10? Top 30? It takes some thinking.

Other players should notify their tournament schedule and their whereabouts during the off season but it is legit that it would be hard to track down during competition, when they lose early and so on.

DhammaTiger
06-19-2008, 05:16 AM
Thanks for the article, it is crucial that WADA keeps the responsibility for monitoring the anti-drug testing and that ATP has no say on that. There are practical difficulties but I guess a reasonable compromise would be to have the top players notifying for their whereabouts since it is less costly for them to do so, having their agents and support teams. Who are the top players? Top 10? Top 30? It takes some thinking.

Other players should notify their tournament schedule and their whereabouts during the off season but it is legit that it would be hard to track down during competition, when they lose early and so on.

Thankfully there is no danger that drug testing would revert back to the ATP, it's just that the ITF is concerned that these rules are not geared on tennis specific peculiarities.and are drawn with athletics in mind mostly. I generally concur with your thoughts about the matter and sincerely hope that the rles will be vigourous enough to deter would be dopers and catch offenders. I also hope that doping is eradicated from all sports with these rules. Do you follow cricket? That sport has become a real farce, when 2 leading Pakistani bowlers were banned for Nandralone, they were re-instated by their governing body despite the protest of WADA even they fall under WADA jurisdiction. All because cricket has become so driven by commercialism it's unbelievable. I just hope that tennis doesn't follow suit

Jogy
06-19-2008, 10:36 AM
Yes it is very important that cheaters have the most little chance and can be detected everywhere because if they know it, they can cheat the test and be prepared for it.

If tennis players can't give the location, then they should have a GPS sensor with them that is online for exactly the one hour needed each day. The one that do not agree with that have two choices: give the location by phone or other way, or quit being pro players.

anti-doping controls must be given each possibility. In China it's the same with the Olympics, they block anti-doping detectives that want to do test on Chinese athletes in a Chinese sport center with the reason that no foreign people may enter it, then they argue with them like 15 minutes and play stupid theatre and in meantime the athlete is warned or 2 busses leaving through the gate. Also Russia is doing many that things where security don't allow anti-doping detectives entry.

Merton
06-19-2008, 10:02 PM
Well, it is a question of allocating scarce resources for the WADA, I mean biking, weight lifting and athletics carry more priority for anti-drug monitoring relative to tennis which is thankfully more of a skills sport.

Deterrence is actually the most important thing, hopefully we want an outcome where potential users evaluate the benefits of using drags to the cost of punishment if getting caught and decide against using drags. For that to work, it is essential to carry punishments when offenders are caught and hence the need for an outside monitor like WADA. If the ATP monitors itself, there is the risk of avoiding punishment for their revenue generating stars if caught, and the deterrence calculation outlined above unravels. Pretty much what happened in biking in the late 90s.