Doping: athletes to be microchipped!

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

In the fight against doping in sport, Mike Miller, the Chief Executive of the World Olympians Association, has proposed that athletes should be fitted with microchips.

Speaking to anti-doping leaders in London on 10 October, he is reported to have said:

“… we’re a nation of dog lovers, we’re prepared to chip our dogs and it doesn’t seem to harm them, so why aren’t we prepared to chip ourselves?”

So, in the interests of clean sport, athletes are to be treated like dogs!

This is not only demeaning, but also, prima facie, in breach of their rights of privacy guaranteed by article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950 (the right to privacy and family life). In fact, many athletes consider that the existing Adams’ ‘whereabouts’ online system, for tracking down athletes for unannounced out-of-competition testing, is overly invasive.

The UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, was also concerned about protecting athletes’ rights of privacy.

Whilst, arguably, drugs cheats need to be caught and punished appropriately, microchipping them seems to be entirely disproportionate.

Does the end, however meritorious it may be, always justify the means?

I think not in the present case!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’