Tour de France doping scandal sends ripples through Europe

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The recent exposure of doping cases in the Tour de France has prompted the Council of Europe to urge stepping up efforts to prevent cheating. A pan-European conference on the fight against doping will take place in Autumn.

”I hope that the deplorable events surrounding the Tour de France will encourage everyone to step up their efforts to prevent cheating and to promote healthy, clean and ethical competition,” said Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary-General Terry Davis on 26 July, adding that the Council of Europe’s anti-doping convention is “a model for the global promotion of fair play and clean sport”.  

The doping cases around this year’s Tour de France have also drawn the attention of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which has offered to convene a high-level summit of all parties involved in cycling to have an in-depth discussion on how to deal with the problem. 

“Even recent initiatives taken by cycling authorities, such as a pledge against doping and increased pressure, are obviously insufficient to deter some riders from cheating. We need to hold such a meeting urgently to see what more can be done to restore the credibility and integrity of cycling,” said WADA President Richard W. Pound on 26 July. 

Strengthening the EU anti-doping policy and instruments is high on the Portuguese Presidency’s agenda. In view of preparing the World Anti-Doping Conference in November 2007, the presidency is to host a pan-European conference on the issue in Lisbon on 24 October. 

Earlier, sport ministers agreed on 12 March 2007 on a German Presidency initiative to set up a network of national anti-doping organisations (NADOs) within the EU and a working group of EU sports directors is set to draft a common European position on the WADA code

The recently published Commission’s White Paper on Sport also highlights the need to join forces in the fight against this problem and states that “at European level, the fight against doping must take into account both a law-enforcement and a health and prevention dimension”.

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