High up on the agenda of informal sports ministers is the adoption and ratification of the first legally binding intergovernmental convention against doping in sport.
There is something of a race against time to get the UNESCO’s International Convention against Doping in Sport in force for the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006. The UK is looking to get as many member states as possible to undertake to ratify the convention so that it will be place in time for the Turin games, which start on 10 February 2006.
The convention is a follow-up to the Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sport (March 2003), which is not legally binding and was not deemed comprehensive enough to address all the issues that governments must tackle to properly address doping in sport. It will mean that the fight against doping will no longer be a matter for sports organisations alone but also of governments.
If all 25 EU member states were to agree to sign up, this would give the convention a considerable boost as 30 countries need to ratify by 31 December 2005 in order for it to come into force for Turin.
Other agenda items include debates on a list of prohibited doping substances, an insight into the UK’s drug-free sport education and information programme called ‘ME’ plus items on sport and health, volunteering and sport and promoting equal opportunities and diversity in sport.