The scandal with the reluctance of the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) to hand over the samples of the runner Mo Farah continues to grow into new details. Representatives of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) denied information about the requirement to transfer samples as part of an investigation into the activities of mentor Alberto Salazar, in whose training camp the four-time Olympic champion had been training for seven years. At the same time, the athlete himself stated that no one had discussed this issue with him, and emphasized that he was ready to give consent to recheck his samples.
. I've seen reports of my name in connection to UKAD and WADA about sample retesting. Just to be clear, I was not consulted about this and as I've said many times, I am happy for any anti-doping body to test any of my previous samples anytime. pic.twitter.com/0TAr3BPMR2- Sir Mo Farah (@Mo_Farah) January 21, 2020
A large number of questions were caused by the reaction to possible inspections by WADA head of the UKAD Nicole Sapsted. She stated that she intended to prevent any attempt to confiscate data in the absence of convincing justification. A statement dated March 4, 2017 appeared on the agency’s website explaining that it has the right to individually conduct inspections and re-analyzes of samples of British athletes.
Ellis Cashmore, a professor of sociology at Aston University, expressed bewilderment at the actions of the UKAD and Sapsted's statement. According to him, such high-profile cases should be thoroughly studied, including including re-opening samples. That is how “scams” of the seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and short-distance runners Marion Jones were revealed at one time.
“By denying access, UKAD complicates an initially simple situation. Of course, there were some indirect suspicions before. Before starting cooperation with Salazar, Farah was a fairly average athlete and in seven years he became one of the most famous, honored, revered, and for many even the greatest British athletes. If something inappropriate is found out about him, it will be an extremely painful blow for local athletics, ”Cashmore said in an interview with RT.
At the same time, the director of the center for international relations of the Russian State Social University, Alan Moore, criticized the international anti-doping system, whose mistakes led to such situations. According to him, national agencies do not trust WADA. The highly respected United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) also plays a role here. It was at his disposal that the data of the Moscow laboratory turned out, which led to the isolation of Russian sports.
“We have entered a new“ hot ”phase of a“ civil war ”in the Anglo-Saxon anti-doping community: USADA vs. UKAD. The US is still unhappy that the British received a very monetary contract to bring the Russian system in order. The Americans tried by all means to undermine the position of Great Britain, the request for Fara’s samples is another attack in their direction, ”Moore explained.
At the same time, UKAD is one of the organizations that most actively insisted on the most severe punishment for Russia. In this regard, both experts called the hypocritical position of the UK.
“She will face punishment for refusing to provide samples. If WADA acts consistently, it will spread to all British athletes. Let me remind you that in the case of Russia it was a question of complete removal. If similar measures are taken with regard to Great Britain, then a worldwide storm will break out, and about it, as one of the most convinced supporters of the principle of transparency, we can say: “For what we fought, we ran into something,” Cashmore suggested.
Many Russian athletes were disqualified for past violations after rechecking samples. According to Cashmore, in the situation with the UKAD you can’t count on it. At the same time, the UK may be punished for refusing to issue information.
“The fact is that sports policy is not completely harmonious and consistent and not always fair. Therefore, previous UK results are unlikely to be retrospectively analyzed. Most likely, WADA will make a second request, warning that in case of another failure it will turn to the legal plane. Then the UK may face the fate of an outcast, ”Cashmore explained.
A similar development of events is predicted and Moore. In his opinion, the British side will try to do everything possible to delay the process so that new doping violations are not revealed.
“The 2012 Olympics was one of the dirtiest in history. Samples of those times are still in the hands of UKAD, and the ten-year period has not yet expired. If these materials are presented and researched, superstar athletes such as Mo Fara and Jessica Ennis Hill will immediately be suspected of being contacted. I believe that the British would like to hide a lot - and they risk a lot if they submit samples, ”Moore added.
He questioned the words of Fara himself, who assured that he would cease cooperation with Salazar if he knew about fraud. That is why UKAD, by all means, wants to protect its athlete.
“UKAD is not fighting for pure sport and fair play, but for money and power. It was not opposed to allowing some Russian athletes to the Olympics, while the USADA was in favor of their complete removal. As long as Great Britain is not obliged to provide samples of the Headlight, it will remain with its influence and earnings. The fate of British, Russian or Irish athletes is indifferent to these agencies, ”said Moore.
To summarize, the expert said that anti-doping rule violations occur everywhere, but serious justification is needed to conduct full-fledged checks. For example, some players in the leading teams of the English Premier League (Premier League) failed or refused to take tests, but there was no punishment. In his view, UKAD should be stripped of its compliance status, but this is unlikely to happen in the near future.
“This has been discussed for a long time: the whole system is rotten to the ground. Russia was a convenient whipping boy, but now we are starting to see contention within the anti-doping community. At the top is a disgusting mafia, which you do not expect to see there. USADA, in fact, is trying to get rid of UKAD in order to establish control over this area and take possession of the gold mine. So the fight will become extremely fierce, and will make itself felt more than once, especially before the Olympic Games in Tokyo, ”Moore predicted.
It is interesting that the position of UKAD alerted not only experts, but also the athletes themselves. Jessica Judd, the 2019 Universiade champion in 2019 in the 5,000-meter run, admitted that she was disappointed with the agency.
“It’s a shame that athletes donate so many samples, and they don’t even double-check them under some silly pretexts. Why do people not want to disclose their data? And you are surprised that athletics is dying from a wave of doping overwhelmed her, ”Judd wrote on Twitter.
Disappointed in UKAD, the amount of samples that athletes give and they won't retest and use stupid excuses as to why, embarrassing. Why would people want to keep their data secret? And you wonder why athletics is dying a drug fuelled death #nothingtohidehttps: //t.co/Xpzn91BR1r- Jess Judd (@jessjuddxx) January 18, 2020
In turn, the 2007 World Cup silver medalist Kara Gucher, who became one of the athletes whose allegations initiated an investigation against Salazar, expressed her willingness to provide her samples at the request of WADA.
“Honestly, this is outrageous. If the recognition of the trainer's guilty of violating the anti-doping rules is not a “good reason”, then I don’t know what it is, ”wrote Gucher.
In October 2019, USADA suspended Salazar from sports for four years on charges of violating anti-doping rules. The coach completely denied his guilt and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne (CAS). The head of WADA, Craig Reedy, emphasized that all his former wards will be attracted special attention, and in the future, it may be necessary to recheck old samples.