Prince of Merode
at the CAFDIS launch
In the run-up to this year's Winter Olympics
in the United States, many will be bracing themselves for another round
of embarrassing doping scandals, but one group, with the support of the
European Commission, is doing something about the problem. On 18 January
2002 in Brussels, the CAFDIS concerted action launched its new interactive
website, an unprecedented tool for linking all the relevant players in
the field of anti-doping, including researchers, lawmakers and the pharmaceutical
In an opening statement,
the Prince of Merode, President of the International
Olympic Commitee's (IOC's) medical commission told a rapt audience,
"There is a lot of work being done by a lot of different groups in
the fight against doping, but communication between these groups, like
the IOC, the national Olympic committees, drug manufacturers and the people
at Interpol , has
been inefficient. The CAFDIS
website will be, for all of us, an indispensable tool in this fight. CAFDIS
is a perfect example of what we can do in Europe when we work together,
and I think it's high time the rest of the world knew about it."
Aimed at promoting the dissemination of anti-doping
information, the CAFDIS website will provide information on laboratory
results, ethics, education and research trends in the field of anti-doping
on a need-to-know basis. Athletes, coaches, laboratory and medical personnel
and legal authorities will all have different access ratings, allowing
them to see and contribute information with various levels of security
||Reaching a wider
Joseph Cummiskey is Medical Officer of the National Olympic Committee
of Ireland and CAFDIS project coordinator. "This is an exciting
moment," he told participants. "Today we are flipping
the switch and the site is going out live. This is a real step in
the right direction." With that, CAFDIS webmaster Paul Doherty
opened the site for business (see http://www.cafdis-antidoping.net/).
Guests were then treated to a live online site tour. "The information
on the site is currently being provided by us, with the help of
the CAFDIS steering committee," said Cummiskey, "but now
that the site is online, others will be able to contribute new material
in accordance with their expertise and access rating. This is a
unique opportunity for people who have never had the chance to sit
down together and exchange ideas and information. We expect greatly
increased co-operation and pooling of resources to follow."
||Words of encouragement
speaking at the site launch were Laurent De Backer, Vice-President
of the International
Cycling Union (UCI) and Jack Metthey, acting Director of EC
Research Directorate H. According to De Backer, "This new website
will be a great help to all of us. The athletes especially find
the subject of doping to be very difficult and embarrassing, where
a few incidents can make the whole sport look bad or a small mistake
ruin a career. A clean and healthy sport is good for everyone, fans
and participants alike, and we all need to know what we're talking
about when it comes to doping."
For Metthey, the CAFDIS project is part of a
larger picture of EC action in the fight against all types of fraud
and criminal activity. "The work we are supporting includes
new technologies aimed at helping in the
fight against crime in general, including doping
in sport , counterfeiting and food
safety -related issues.
"The support of the Commission has been
very important," said Cummiskey. "This thing would never
have got off the ground without its help."
Again, the Prince
of Merode: "Seeing that our sports are clean and healthy is
of fundamental importance. The Olympic ideal must be defended; otherwise
our work has no meaning. We also have to be sure that our children
understand the spirit of sportsmanship and that they are educated
about sports doping. We do not see any mention of this question
in our national school curricula, while doping activities are being
seen at lower and lower competitive levels, and this has to change."
Actions aimed at helping to combat doping
in sport are supported under the Growth Programme's 'Measurements
and testing' generic activity.
- Concerted action in the fight against doping in sport.