Sport Ireland Publishes 2017 Irish Anti-Doping Review

Sport Ireland Publishes 2017 Irish Anti-Doping Review

- 989 Anti-Doping tests carried out in 2017 through Sport Ireland testing programme

- Sport Ireland also conducted 315 ‘user pays’ tests on behalf of ten national and international organisations

- Sport Ireland publishes updated Supplements Use In Sport Guidelines

- Sport Ireland hosts Council of Europe Advisory Group on Education

Sport Ireland today published the findings of the Irish Anti-Doping Review for 2017.

In 2017, the Irish Anti-Doping Programme continued to make substantial progress in education, research, testing and detection. The 2017 Irish Anti-Doping Review, the eighteenth of the programme, gives a full and detailed account of these activities.

Last year, through the national testing programme Sport Ireland conducted 989 tests. This includes 318 blood tests and 671 urine tests. Sport Ireland also conducted an additional 315 ‘user pays’ tests on behalf of ten national and international organisations, marking an increase of 15% on 2016.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin T.D, commented “Sport Ireland has been working diligently and with great professionalism to ensure that Ireland’s sporting interests are protected. Sport Ireland, continues to be one of the leading National Anti-Doping Organisations, running a robust testing programme here in Ireland and contributing to the global fight against doping in sport. We are very supportive of the anti-doping movement, having publically affirmed Ireland’s commitment to fair play in sport and protecting the rights of clean athletes. We will continue to liaise with our EU Ministerial colleagues to send out a clear message that doping, both in Ireland and internationally, should not be tolerated at any level.”

A key focus for Sport Ireland again in 2017 was on the continued strengthening of the education programme, and the publication of the review coincides with the hosting of the Advisory Group on Education (T-DoED), a monitoring group of the Council of Europe’s Anti-Doping Convention.

Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of Sport Ireland, commented: “Sport Ireland recognises that the success of the Anti- Doping Programme in Ireland is due to the continued co-operation and commitment we receive from National Governing Bodies and athletes. Our athletes continue to represent Ireland with honesty and integrity through what has been one of the most turbulent times in elite sport in decades. We thank them for continuing to inspire the next generation through leadership and demonstrating that with commitment and hard work success can be achieved. Sport Ireland’s Education Programme is a vital component in ensuring that all athletes are fully aware of the risks and consequences associated with doping in Sport, and Sport Ireland is delighted to host our European colleagues here in Dublin this week to discuss the very important topic of education.”

2017 was the first year of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) new Code Compliance Questionnaire (CCQ). The CCQ is a tool developed by WADA to measure the compliance of all signatories.

Caroline Murphy, Chair of Sport Ireland’s Anti-Doping Committee, commented: “Sport Ireland welcomes the transparency which the new Code Compliance Questionnaire brings, seeing it as an important part of running an effective anti-doping programme. We view this as a positive step towards increasing global compliance with anti-doping. Also in 2017, Sport Ireland began its participation in an Erasmus plus project called RESPECT. To accelerate positive change in the quest of protecting the rights of athletes at all levels to clean sport, we aim to develop a 10-year strategy which shifts the focus from stopping those who might dope to support those who chose to compete clean. To do so, athletes, practitioners and academics must work together. It is hoped this project will be first step in an athlete centred focus to anti-doping.”

2017 was a another challenging year in the global fight against doping in sport, with Sport Ireland joining other National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) on several occasions to call for reforms in the global anti-doping landscape.

Commenting on the domestic focus and the global perspective, John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, added: “On the domestic front Sport Ireland had a good year, with training and education at the forefront of our doping prevention programme. The purpose of this programme is to provide up-to-date information to all athletes who are likely to be tested, as well as their support personnel, with particular focus on their responsibilities. I am delighted that 28 new anti-doping tutors from a range of different sports were trained in 2017.

Mr. Treacy continued: “Internationally, Sport Ireland continues to be one of the leading advocates for clean athletes and is pushing for reform of the anti-doping system internationally. At the back end of last year we welcomed an announcement from the IOC that the Russian Olympic Committee had been banned from competing in the Winter Olympic Games, however what transpired was a lamentable situation where over 160 Russian athletes went on to compete in the Games. In addition, Russia's Olympic suspension has now since been lifted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). What type of message does this send to clean athletes who are competing fairly around the world; Sport Ireland will continue to advocate to protect clean athletes everywhere as we head into what is a very important qualifying year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

Sport Ireland today also published its new guidance in the use of supplements in sport. The document, which is endorsed by the Sport & Exercise Nutrition Interest Group (SENIG) of the Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute (INDI), provides Athlete Support Personnel working with National Governing Bodies with a guide to appropriately assess the need for supplementation, assess the risk of supplementation, understand the consequences of taking supplements from an anti-doping perspective and provide practical guidelines and tools for the safe usage in order to support athletes.

Commenting on the new guidance, Dr Una May, Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, said: “We have been seeing an increase in the number of anti-doping rule violations globally which involve the use of supplements, whether contaminated or otherwise. As such, Sport Ireland felt the need to take a pragmatic approach to what is a complicated area, hence the production of our new guidance on the use of supplements in sport. Nutritional supplement use has become common practice for many Irish athletes, with a recent survey of high performance athletes by Sport Ireland finding that 50% of athletes reported using nutritional supplement products. While acknowledging that when used effectively and safely, there may be a place for limited and cautious supplement use. Athletes and support personnel need to be fully aware of the risks associated with taking supplements and how they can minimise their exposure to risk.”

Click here to view the 2017 Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Annual Review

Click here to view the 2017 Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Supplements Policy