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Cycling DCMS committee want to pursue doping suppliers as criminals

THOSE who administer or supply doping products to athletes should be pursued by the law as criminals, the MPs said yesterday yesterday.

Having spent two and a half years investigating allegations of doping in athletics and cycling, the Commos digital, culture, media and sport select committee published a highly critical report yesterday.

It accused Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford and British cycling great Bradley Wiggins of “crossing an ethical line” by using powerful medicine to boost performance, and world athletics chief Sebastian Coe of misleading Parliament when he was grilled about the sport’s problems with doping.

But the report also made a series of suggestions to improve the fight against drugs cheats.

Committee chair Damian Collins said: “Our key recommendation is the power to create a legal framework to really go after those who supply doping products to athletes.

“It would add more rigour to the system. There would be more responsibility on the part of doctors and teams to keep proper medical records, and there would be more surveillance of that.

“Take Dave Brailsford’s evidence to us. When asked if riders other than Bradley Wiggins could have been given [the corticosteroid] triamcinolone, he said not to his knowledge. So he was not across what was going on in the team.

“Criminalising the suppliers would also help UK Anti-Doping in terms of the investigatory firepower it could call upon. We think it would help everybody.”

The committee had considered calling for doping, as a whole, to be criminalised, as has happened in countries such as France and Italy.

But the report said: “We do not think it would be effective to subject doping athletes to criminal procedures and penalties.

“Longer bans on competing are likely to be more of a disincentive to them, and will avoid placing an extra burden on law enforcement bodies such as the police and courts.”

As well as going after the enablers and suppliers, the committee advocates increasing the maximum ban for first-time offenders from four years to five so they would miss two Olympic or Paralympic Games.

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