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Brussels, May 4, 1999

Fair play in sport: a European initiative unites scientists and athletes in the fight against doping
Toulouse, 7-9 May 1999

Keywords: Sport, doping, programme "Standards, measurement and testing"

High-level scientists and international athletes - such as the Russian pole vaulter, Sergei Bubka, and the American runner, Ed Moses - are going to be working together on the fight against doping. With this in view, they will attend a meeting organised under a European project in Toulouse (France) on 7, 8 and 9 May. In the medium term, the aim of this project is to make it possible to carry out frequent controls of comparable quality everywhere - especially outside competitive events. To this end, the research undertaken aims to optimise techniques and screening methods, to improve coordination between anti-doping laboratories, and to develop common databases and certified reference material banks.

The meeting, which will take place in Toulouse, will be the third in a series of four, and aims both to gather opinions and inform sportsmen. Organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the European Commission (DG XII), it fits within the general framework of their fight against doping.

Under the presidency of Prince Alexandre de Mérode, President of the medical subcommittee of the IOC, the Toulouse meeting will involve athletes, trainers, journalists, officials of the European Commission, and several representatives of the IOC.

Everybody knows the problems raised by doping, both for sport in general and sportsmen in particular. But according to some studies, it appears that doping is a current practice in certain sports, even at the amateur level.

These problems deserve to be addressed at a transnational level, in order to set up harmonised procedures and thus to fight more effectively against doping. It is also a question which requires some scientific and technical research, in particular with a view to developing reference materials and harmonising measurement methods. This is essential if the objective is to implement effective methods, which are acceptable to most of those involved, in the same way all over the world.

In 1998, a project was launched under one of the EU's research programmes with the aim of tackling these problems. This project will also help to improve the training of those involved in the fight against doping, such as analysts, laboratory managers, and judges.

In the medium term, this project should make it possible to carry out frequent controls of comparable quality everywhere - especially outside competitive events. It should also help countries without the appropriate structures to set up effective control procedures.

For further information, please contact:

Eddie Maier
Scientific officer
Programme "Standards, measurement and testing", DG XII
Fax: +32-2-295.80.72

Michel Claessens
Communication Unit, DG XII
Fax: +32-2-295.82.20

See also: First European Union Conference on sport

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