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Report finds UKAD failed to follow up whistleblower case

Organisation never contacted General Medical Council about doctor accused of prescribing banned substances

An inqury into UK Anti-Doping’s (UKAD’s) handling of an investigation into a doctor accused of prescribing banned substances to athletes has concluded that opportunities to gather intelligence, secure evidence and investigate him were missed. In particular, the report said that it was "difficult to understand" why there was no contact with the General Medical Council (GMC) when this was suggested to staff on at least seven occasions.

The Independent Review was commissioned by the UKAD Board following reports that Dr Mark Bonar had provided a number of British athletes with performance enhancing substances.

The whistleblower behind the investigation into Bonar was reported to be amateur cyclist Dan Stevens, who was handed a 21-month ban after failing to provide a urine sample in January 2014.

Chair of the Independent Review, former Merseyside Assistant Chief Constable Andy Ward, said there was “some confusion and lack of clarity” in how to manage a source looking to reduce a drugs ban through whistleblowing.

He also said that a simple check with Dr Bonar’s governing body, the GMC, should have been undertaken by UKAD to establish whether any other intelligence might have existed which could have supported or negated the allegations made.

“It is difficult to understand why no contact was made with the GMC when that course of action was suggested on at least seven occasions either by members of UKAD, the athlete and his legal representatives throughout 2014,” he said.

Ward also questioned the decision not to reduce the source’s ban.

“The source identified another athlete who was then prioritised for testing by UKAD and two events were also targeted – it is without question that the testers would not have been at either event had it not been for the source’s information. In our opinion, the source should have been credited with providing that intelligence by UKAD reducing the length of his ban.”

In reponse, UKAD Chair, David Kenworthy said:

“This case has been challenging and complex but as a publicly funded body it is absolutely correct that UKAD be held to account for its actions. The team has been fully cooperative throughout the process and fully accepts that mistakes were made and lessons must be learnt.

“We continue to be firmly committed to our fight to protect clean sport and clean athletes. UKAD has enjoyed considerable success in using intelligence and information to catch cheats but this case was not up to the usual high standards of our work.

“All the recommendations made by the Independent Review have been accepted; some have already been implemented and there is a timeline for implementing the others."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago

It's funny that the public perception is that cycling is the dirtiest of sports when it's simply down to the fact that governing bodies  of all the other sports doesn't give a shit about proper drug testing.

Can you imagine if, out of the blue, all footballers were tested and then potentially banned? Nobody left. Same with tennis, athletics and probably just about everything done at elite level.

Pin to win.

Jamminatrix | 7 years ago

Have these "leaders" within sport not learned anything from history? At some point the entire operation will unwravel and the entire corruption will be exposed. Everyone thinks they are the immune era and won't make the same mistakes as their peers did. Just wait. It will come.

Unfortunately the only real people who get hurt are grassroots - children who look up to heroes and aspire, and the sponsors and fans who are ultimately paying the bills.

Colin Peyresourde | 7 years ago
1 like

This doesn't surprise me. Faced with opportunity to actually catch some athletes UKAD turn the other cheek - the comments by their director in light of the athletes scandal speaks volumes of an institution that is firmly in bed with the organisations they're asked to police.

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