BBC BLOGS - Gordon Farquhar

Archives for March 2011

Anti-doping agencies need help to battle drug cheats

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Gordon Farquhar | 14:39 UK time, Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Listening to David Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, talk about the fight to stamp out drugs in sport leaves you in no doubt that it's a jungle out there.

He's not the kind to glibly reassure you that everything's fine and his organisation are completely on top of it all. It isn't, and they're not.

Making a keynote address at UK Anti-Doping's conference, Howman pointed out the challenges facing sport going forward, and clearly illustrated the futility of sport trying to fight doping on its own.

He warned that his sources at Interpol and other agencies were clear that the criminal underworld was increasingly getting its claws into sport.

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Kolo Toure: What happens next?

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Gordon Farquhar | 11:07 UK time, Friday, 4 March 2011

The Manchester City defender Kolo Toure faces a ban of up to two years following his suspension from playing yesterday after testing positive for a banned substance. Here are the key questions facing the 29-year-old defender.

Q: Is there ever an excuse for failing a drugs test?

The principle of strict liability underpins the whole of doping policy. What it means in practical terms is that you, the athlete, are responsible for what's in your body regardless of how it got there.

There are mitigating circumstances, but the burden of proof rests on the athlete. In other words, Toure will have to satisfactorily explain how a prohibited substance was found in his sample. Some examples could be proof that drink or food was maliciously spiked by a fellow competitor, or proof the substance was forcibly injected by a third party.

The reason that strict liability is used is to prevent reliance on the obvious excuse of "I didn't know it was in the tablet I took," or "I didn't know what I was taking".

It's a similar to the caveat "ignorance of the law is no defence." It's a tough stance, but it has to be to protect the clean athletes.

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Fifa basks in $631m profits

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Gordon Farquhar | 17:23 UK time, Thursday, 3 March 2011

These continue to be boom times for football.

Fifa's latest financial figures for the four years to the end of 2010 show the organisation earned more than $4bn. That's an increase of 59% over the previous four year stretch which included the World Cup in Germany.

Its broadcast rights and marketing which are leading the boom of course, and Fifa is riding the wave that's thrown the Premier League skywards too.

Fifa has banked $631m to its reserves, which now stand at $1.2bn.

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