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Background

Setting the stage

Sport is a fundamental part of virtually every culture and society on earth. Few people can fail to have been inspired at some point in their lives by a sporting achievement, whether personally experienced or witnessed as a spectator. We find sport important and meaningful, perhaps as a metaphor for life itself, with its challenges to be overcome, its successes and failures.

Unfortunately, the darker side of human nature is also reflected in sport in the form of cheating. Doping is a method of cheating that has been around for centuries, even millennia, having been noted as early as the third century B.C. at the ancient Olympic Games.

In recent years, sport, leisure and recreation have come to constitute one of the great areas of economic and employment growth on a worldwide scale, meaning increasing amounts of money for athletes and organisers, and increasing incentive and resources for cheaters.

The Hardop report

The European Union has pledged to support the fight against doping in sport. A preliminary project known as Hardop 'Harmonisation of methods and measurements in the fight against doping', funded in 1998 by the European Union, set out to identify the research necessary to improve the way in which doping in sport is being combated. The project's final report, published in 1999, stressed the need for new developments not only in measurement and testing technologies, but also in co-ordination and education.

The full Hardop report is available on the internet at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/smt/hardop-en.pdf

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Anti-doping