By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The British newspaper ‘The Sunday Times’ has been at it again with its latest revelations of doping in sport, following the widespread doping scandal in athletics which was disclosed by the newspaper on 2 August, 2015!
This time, in an ‘Insight Report’ published on 3 April, 2016, following an undercover investigation, the newspaper claims that a British Doctor, named as Mark Bonar, has, over the past six years, prescribed performance-enhancing drugs, such as EPO (erythropoietin), steroids and human growth hormones, to some 150 elite British and other sports persons.
The sports persons concerned are alleged to include English Premier League footballers; an English cricket professional; British ‘Tour de France’ cyclists; a boxer; and also some tennis players.
It appears that the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) were made aware of these allegations two years ago by a sportsman ‘whistle blower’ who had been prescribed performance-enhancing drugs by Dr Bonnar and been banned, but UKAD had done nothing about the matter, because they claimed that Bonar was outside their jurisdiction, as he was not governed by a particular sport. This seems to be a lame excuse, particularly as it now appears that UKAD has ordered an independent review of the latest allegations!
The UK Department of Media and Sport has also ordered an urgent investigation into the claims.
The English Football Association has described the newspaper’s allegations as “very serious” and has “welcomed” UKAD’s review of them.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester City Football Clubs have all issued denials of what they call these “false claims”. Whilst Birmingham City has not yet responded to these claims.
As regards the Doctor at the centre of these allegations, he has told ‘The Sunday Times’ that he treated the sports persons concerned for medical reasons and not to enhance their performances. However, he is also reported as having said that it was time to accept that drugs were in sport and that athletes should be free to take anything they liked under the supervision of medical specialists!
It should be pointed out that ‘The Sunday Times’ has said that it does not have any independent evidence to corroborate the allegations that have been published!
Again, such doping allegations are very damaging to sport in general and to the UK in particular, which is widely regarded around the world as the home of ‘fair play’ in all things, including sport!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw is an International Sports Lawyer, Academic, Author and CAS Member and may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’