Irish Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD is today chairing the EU Council of Sports Ministers in Brussels. In advance of the meeting, a high-level EU Structured Dialogue will take place focusing on how public authorities and the sports movement can work in partnership to combat the increased sophistication of doping in sport.
The Structural Dialogue includes contributions from representatives across the world of sport and will be attended by EU Sports Ministers ahead of the EU Sports Council later today.
The Dialogue is also being attended by:
- Travis Tygart, Chief Executive Officer of the US Anti-Doping Agency
- Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth
- Patrick Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committees
- Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union (UCI)
- Olivier Niggli, Legal Director of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
- Jonas Baer-Hoffmann ( EU Athletes)
Travis Tygart led the investigation into the US Postal Service Pro-Cycling Team and the Lance Armstrong case, which uncovered one of the most sophisticated and professionalised doping schemes in sport. Mr. Tygart will also attend the EU Council meeting as guest speaker and address Ministers on doping in sport.
With more sophisticated methods of doping continually emerging and evidence of increased criminal infiltration in doping in sport, the EU Council has agreed that public authorities and the sports movement need to work in partnership to develop new and more effective approaches in the fight against doping.
The Council will also discuss the need to move beyond drug-testing alone, and place increased emphasis on investigations, intelligence gathering and sharing of information in the continued fight against doping in sport. Public authorities have powers not available to the sport movement, for example, in areas of investigation and intelligence sharing.
Minister Ring- "We have prioritised the fight against doping in sport during the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU and wanted to engage with the sports movement as well as EU public authorities on this important issue."
Minister Ring stated: "I am delighted that Travis Tygart agreed to attend today’s events and share his experience and expertise in the fight against doping in sport and how the EU can learn from the United States situation.”
“While enormous strides have been made internationally in the fight against doping in sport, through the work of the World Anti-Doping Agency, recent high profile cases have shown that doping remains one of the major challenges facing the sport sector. It was important to get the input of Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and hear the steps that the UCI has been taking to clean up cycling including introducing the very important athlete biological passport to cycling and world sport and his views on how public authorities can assist international federations in the fight against doping.”
Minister Ring - "Governments, sports bodies and national anti-doping agencies need to continue to work together to fight this problem and ensure that there is a level playing field globally.”
The Minister concluded: “Although there have been significant advancements in the testing tools to fight against doping, methods of cheating have also become more sophisticated and there is a need to be vigilant to new ways of doping emerging. Protecting the integrity of sport against doping is an on-going global challenge which requires international and cross-sectoral cooperation and action.