Toni Minichiello on Russian Drugs Scandal

Today, the already toxic situation in relation to doping in Russia took a turn for the worse with the publishing of WADAs report. Toni has taken the unusual step of going into writing.  Here is his response:

Question: Who are the real victims here?

Answer: Athletes.

Question: Why do people dope?

Answer: Medals

“I believe the best punishment is to redistribute the medals, change the medal tables and re-award the medals. Quickly.”

Any ban on Russian athletes will be legally challenged and take too long if ever to reach a true conclusion. I’ve already been waiting 3 years for a decision from CAS (Court of arbitration of Sport) over the 2011 World Championship gold that went to Chernova. For me a ban plays into the hands of legal filibustering. Maybe people know that.

I believe the best punishment is to redistribute the medals, change the medal tables and re-award the medals. Quickly.

If you ban the 139 track athletes you will surely decimate any Russian track team although, that said, Russian athletes are already banned. Some 49 Russian athletes are awaiting a decision by CAS to prove they are clean and gain entry to Rio. However if any of the 139 athletes are part of the 49 then the case should be thrown out. Remember – those names should already be known through the testing procedures. Imagine the embarrassment of that.

None of this takes into account 26 cyclists, 27 canoeists and more.

I address the real problems to IOC (International Olympics Committee) and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).  This happened on your watch. How are you going to change?

Here are my suggestions:

1. Double the investment in anti-doping…No triple it.
2. Ensure WADAs on-going independence and allow them to take over all anti-doping,
3. Anti-doping at major championships and prior to be handled completely by WADA, take away the possibly of manipulation.
4. Anti-doping officers gain diplomatic immunity to travel without visas and arrive without notice anywhere in the world.
5. Money. Reduce prize money by 10% to create a cleaner sport, the 10% being given over to anti-doping.

“Whilst we’re at it I believe it is time that doping in all sport is addressed…”

Whilst we’re at it I believe it is time that doping in all sport is addressed.  Take a team sport like football. Where are the effective doping controls?  Would a team be happy to see parachute payments reduced by £5 million, to £45 million if they could be assured they weren’t beaten by a team with a doper. And if a team did dope, why not deduct points from them. 

If the outcome of this review is that world sport, from grassroots to the very top, finally addresses the doping issue then we’ll all be a lot better for it.”