Dag V. Hanstad 1, Eivind Å. Skille 2, Miranda Thurston 3 - PDF

Sport und Gesellschaft Sport and Society Jahrgang 6 (2009), Heft 1, S Lucius & Lucius Verlag Stuttgart Dag V. Hanstad 1, Eivind Å. Skille 2, Miranda Thurston 3 Elite Athletes Perspectives on Providing

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Sport und Gesellschaft Sport and Society Jahrgang 6 (2009), Heft 1, S Lucius & Lucius Verlag Stuttgart Dag V. Hanstad 1, Eivind Å. Skille 2, Miranda Thurston 3 Elite Athletes Perspectives on Providing Whereabouts Information: A Survey of Athletes in the Norwegian Registered Testing Pool Das Meldesystem und die Anti-Doping-Bestimmungen aus der Sicht der Athleten: Eine Befragung norwegischer Athleten Summary This paper reports on the perspectives of elite athletes on anti-doping work in general and on the whereabouts system in particular, and uses a figurational perspective to explore the unintended consequences of the planned introduction of the whereabouts system. A cross-sectional survey of all the athletes in the Norwegian registered testing pool (n = 236, response rate = 80.8%) was carried out in 2006, using a structured questionnaire. Overall, 70.6% of the athletes agreed that doping was a problem in elite sport in general, but paradoxically only 17.5% agreed that doping was a problem in their own sport. However, more than four in ten (43%) of the athletes agreed that the whereabouts information system made a contribution to a cleaner sport. Some athletes thought the system was unfair. The whereabouts information system had, despite all good intentions, outcomes other than those planned and intended by the WADA. Thus, athletes views might fruitfully be integrated with other perspectives when anti-doping work is developed further. Zusammenfassung Der Artikel beleuchtet die Perspektive der Athleten im Hinblick auf die Anti-Doping-Bestimmungen und das Meldesystem. Auf der Basis figurationssoziologischer Überlegungen werden die unbeabsichtigten Konsequenzen der geplanten Einführung des Meldesystems untersucht. Im norwegischen Registered Testing Pool (n = 236, Rücklaufquote = 80,8%) wurde 2006 anhand eines strukturierten Fragebogens eine Querschnittsumfrage unter Athleten durchgeführt. Insgesamt 70,6% der Athleten stimmten zu, dass Doping ein generelles Problem im Spitzensport sei, aber nur 17,5% gaben an, dass Doping ein Problem in ihrem eigenen Sport sei. 43 % der Athleten stimmten zu, dass das Meldesystem einen Beitrag zu einem saubereren Sport leiste. Ein wichtiges Resultat ist, dass das Meldesystem trotz guter Absichten zu anderen Ergebnissen führte als durch die WADA geplant und beabsichtigt. Es könnte deshalb sinnvoll sein, in der Weiterentwicklung von Anti-Doping-Maßnahmen die Perspektiven der Athleten mit zu berücksichtigen Department of Cultural and Social Studies, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. Institute for Sport, Faculty of Health Studies and Sport Science, Hedmark University College. Centre for Public Health Research, University of Chester and Institute for Sport, Faculty of Health Studies and Sport Science, Hedmark University College. Elite Athletes Perspectives on Providing Whereabouts Information 31 1 Introduction Historically, anti-doping work has been considered ineffective in eradicating the use of performance enhancing drugs by elite athletes (Kammerer, 2000; Houlihan, 2002; Waddington, 2000; Verroken & Mottram, 2005). A number of reasons for this have been identified, which include the poor quality of the tests (Voy, 1991), problems associated with carrying out unannounced tests (Longman, 1995) and the limited involvement of some countries and sport federations (Houlihan, 2002). In order to improve this situation, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999, the aim of which was to develop, coordinate and harmonize anti-doping policy and procedures on a worldwide basis. In 2003, the World Anti-Doping Code (WADA, 2003a) was approved, as the fundamental and universal document upon which the World Anti-Doping Program would be based. 4 More than 570 sports organizations, including all 35 international federations (IFs) of Olympic sports, all national Olympic and Paralympic committees, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, and many other sports organizations are signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code (WADA, 2007). A new and updated Code came into force January 1 st 2009 (WADA, 2008a). 5 However, all references to the Code in this paper are to the 2003 version. (The new Code is briefly returned to in the discussion). One central element of the Code designed to improve the effectiveness of antidoping work is the requirement placed on federations to establish a registered testing pool. Athletes who are in a registered testing pool must submit information on their whereabouts to their national and/or international federation. In this way, athletes are required to be accessible for no-notice doping tests all year round. If the required information is not submitted, if the information provided is incorrect, or if athletes cannot be found when a no-notice test is supposed to take place (a missed test), the athletes may be given a warning. In most sports and national anti-doping regulations, three such warnings within 18 months may be regarded as a violation of the doping regulations, which may lead to exclusion from competition for a period of between three months and two years (WADA, 2003a, 2004). 4 5 In addition to the Code, the anti-doping program includes other guidelines: International Standards relate to different technical and operational areas within the program which are developed by the signatories and governments and approved by WADA, while Models of Best Practice provides state of the art solutions in different areas of anti-doping that are recommended by WADA (WADA, 2003a). The Code was revised during the World Congress on Doping in Sport in November The updates to the Code, which came into effect on January 1 st 2009, did not influence the athletes at the point of data collection, and are therefore not treated in detail here. However, it should be noted that many elements that were recommendations in the earlier Code became mandatory in the revised Code. 32 D. V. Hanstad, E. Å. Skille, M. Thurston It is worthy of note at this juncture that the whereabouts system places a compulsory requirement on individual athletes who are members of a registered testing pool to provide detailed and specific information such that their personal freedom to act in particular ways is limited. Furthermore, the extent to which personal freedom is limited through the specific requirements placed on athletes varies from country to country. Thus, not only is an individual athlete s freedom to act limited by the system, but not all athletes are treated equally. In this paper, relative autonomy is analysed in sociological terms using key ideas from figurational sociology (Elias, 1978). To date, athletes views of the whereabouts system have not been investigated by WADA, sport federations, nation states, or researchers. This is an important omission, if it is assumed that the effectiveness and efficiency of the system will, to some degree, be dependent on the co-operation and compliance of athletes, which is, at least in part, dependent on their belief in the value of the system in protecting them as clean athletes, as well as its inherent fairness. This paper makes a contribution to this neglected area, by reporting on the findings from a survey of athletes in the Norwegian testing pool, the aim of which was to explore these athletes perspectives on anti-doping work in general and the whereabouts system in particular. The paper begins by outlining the whereabouts system in more detail, before going on to present the theoretical perspective underpinning the study, the methodology used and the results. Finally, the findings are discussed in terms of some key ideas from figurational sociology and their implications for future policy and practice of anti-doping work. 1.1 The whereabouts information system According to the WADA Code (art ), international and national sports federations have to establish Registered Testing Pools of elite athletes and carry out incompetition and out-of-competition testing (WADA, 2003a). In the International Standards for Testing (WADA 2003b) and Models of Best Practice & Guidelines documents (WADA, 2004), WADA leaves it to the individual anti-doping organisation (ADO) to define procedures and systems for collecting, maintaining and monitoring sufficient whereabouts information to ensure that sample collection can be planned and conducted at no advance notice for all athletes in the registered testing pool (WADA, 2003b, art , p. 13). As a minimum, WADA demands that the ADOs collect the following athlete information: a) name, b) sport/discipline, c) home address, d ) contact phone numbers, e) training times and venues, f) training camps, g) travel plans, h) competition schedule, and, if applicable i) disability, including the requirement for third party involvement in notification (WADA, 2003b, art ). An earlier study by Hanstad & Loland (2005) showed that there were variations between ADOs in the way the system was implemented. Among the differences were the criteria for selecting athletes to registered testing pools, details in the information Elite Athletes Perspectives on Providing Whereabouts Information 33 the athletes were required to submit, procedures to be followed when this information needed to be amended, and the specific requirements on athlete availability for testing. For example, in the United States the athletes in the testing pool had to be available for testing practically 24 hours a day. This situation was different from the United Kingdom where the availability requirement was set to one hour five days a week (Monday Friday), while Norwegian athletes had to make themselves available for testing one hour a day all year round (Antidoping Norge, 2007). There are sanctions attached to non-compliance with these requirements. The 2003 Code states that the period of ineligibility shall be at a minimum 3 months and at a maximum 2 years in accordance with the rules established by the anti-doping organization whose test was missed or whereabouts requirement was violated (WADA, 2003a, art , p. 29). More specific definitions of violation are contained in the Guidelines for Athlete Whereabouts Information (WADA, 2004). Article 6.4 stipulates that an athlete with three warnings for failure to provide accurate whereabouts information in a rolling period of 18 months or a combination of failure to provide whereabouts information and missed tests, may be subject to an anti-doping rule violation. 6 There are several recent examples of athletes being sanctioned for not providing information and/or for missed tests, indicating that, whatever the reason, some athletes do not always comply with the system. Among the athletes who have been sanctioned after violation of the whereabouts information system (missed tests), are, in December 2007, four British athletes who were suspended for between three and 12 months (Knight, 2006). In the US four athletes have been suspended, while Norwegian sport authorities announced their first suspension in April 2007, when a wrestler was suspended for six months. The most high profile suspension for missing athlete information occurred when the Greek sprinters Katerina Thanou and Kostas Kenteris were excluded from the summer Olympics in Formally, they withdrew from the Games, but they later accepted anti-doping rule violations of three missed tests between 27 July and 12 August 2004, and a failure to provide urine and blood samples on 12 August 2004 (IAAF, 2006). 7 During the 2007 Tour de France the Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen received considerable media attention because of his whereabouts prior to the race was ambiguous. He was, as the leader of the race, sacked by his own team. One year later, the Monaco Cycling Federation suspended him for a period of two years for a combina- 6 7 Criteria have been established for each of the three warnings that vary between the different ADOs. In Norway, for example, the athlete automatically receives a sms after three days of not submitting any information. On day four without any information a warning letter that the athlete has to reply to is sent out. Lack of response or an explanation that is not credible will result in one warning. There is no central database to acquire an overview of the number of sentenced athletes. 34 D. V. Hanstad, E. Å. Skille, M. Thurston tion of a failure to provide whereabouts information and missed tests (Ferdinand, 2008). At the time of writing, Rasmussen s appeal was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 2 Elite athletes in their figurations The purpose of the whereabouts information system is to protect clean athletes, by carrying out more effective doping controls; thus, according to WADA, the system is a contribution to a more effective control of drug use (WADA, 2003a, 2003b, 2004). However, as noted above, the introduction of this obligatory system limits the relative autonomy of the athletes and moreover, is likely to have a number of unintended consequences. Merton (1936) developed the idea of unintended or unanticipated consequences of individual social action. However, Elias s (1978) concept of unintended consequences is a departure from Merton s conceptualisation in some important ways. First and fundamentally as Dunning, Malcolm and Waddington have pointed out, Whereas Merton s discussion of unintended consequences was largely individualistic, Elias s focus was on pluralities of people (Dunning, Malcolm & Waddington, 2004, p. 201). Thus, Elias developed the concept of figuration to represent the network of interdependent relationships between mutually oriented individuals. Second, elements of Elias s work on unplanned outcomes are clearly evident in The Civilizing Process, first published in Elite athletes in the Norwegian testing pool are interdependent with other athletes from within their testing pool, athletes in other testing pools, athletes who are not part of a registered testing pool, with their national ADO, with WADA, and so on, and collectively can be seen in figurational terms. Thus, individuals are not selfcontained and separate people, acting in isolation, as Merton propounded (1936) but, rather, their actions can best be viewed in terms of the networks of social relationships of which they are inevitably a part (Green, 2003). Conceptualising networks as chains of interdependencies illustrates the Eliasian point that direct contact is not necessary for power and influence to be experienced. Thus, from a figurational perspective, relative autonomy or human agency can only be understood in terms of the dependence of any one individual on the surrounding network of social, economic, and political relations (van Krieken, 1998). For Elias, the introduction of planned technical developments, such as the whereabouts system, will always have a number of unintended consequences, because they are a logical outcome of the complex interweaving of planned and unplanned social processes (Dunning, Malcolm & Waddington, 2004, p. 199). This idea can be illustrated with reference to the concept of game models (Elias, 1978). An important aspect of Eliasian game models is that power which is seen as characterising all social relations should be considered as relational and as dynamic. In a complex, multi-person game (Elias, 1978, p ) each player is not in direct contact with all Elite Athletes Perspectives on Providing Whereabouts Information 35 the other players. In these circumstances, decision making and actions are, to a large degree, based on assumptions of what other players might do and want to achieve. This complex interweaving of the planned and unplanned actions of many people illustrates the point that the human world is resistant to direct control (van Krieken, 1998, p. 53). In this respect, Eliasian games can be contrasted with other more economic, individualistic and rational game theoretical approaches, which have formerly been applied to understanding the spread of doping in sport (Breivik, 1987; Eber, 2008), but have not hitherto been applied specifically to the control of doping through the whereabouts system. This study uses a figurational perspective in order to explore and understand the unintended consequences of the planned introduction of the whereabouts system by exploring the perspectives of those athletes whom it was designed to protect. 3 Materials and methods In 2006, a cross-sectional survey using a structured questionnaire was carried out. 3.1 Participants and procedures All elite level athletes in the Norwegian registered testing pool were included in the survey. Norway established a testing pool in 1998 and has worked in accordance with the WADA Code since By November 2006, 292 athletes were in the testing pool, and thus were required to submit their whereabouts information to Anti- Doping Norway. 8 The survey was conducted between October 11 th and November 13 th 2006, by using a web-based system, QuestBack. s (286) and postal mails (6) containing information about athletes voluntary participation in the study, reassurances to athletes that the data would be treated confidentially and reported anonymously, and (in the s) a link to the web site for the survey, were sent from Anti- Doping Norway. QuestBack automatically generated a data file, based on the webbased answers from athletes, thus each athlete s identity was protected. 9 The survey was approved by the Norwegian Social Science Data Services, which is the Privacy Ombudsman for research (in universities/university colleges) in Norway. 10 Return of 8 An athlete is in the testing pool if s/he receives funding from the elite sport department of the NOC (Olympiatoppen), if s/he belongs to the testing pool for international federations (i.e. the International Ski Federation FIS), or an athlete may be included in the pool after evaluation by the national special sport federations. 9 We do not of course have any information about whether or not the athletes in the sample were clean. 10 Explanations for the high response rate may be that the invitation to take part in the survey was sent by from the Chief Executive officer of ADN, who introduced it as a survey carried out by the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and that the leader of the Athletes Committee and head 36 D. V. Hanstad, E. Å. Skille, M. Thurston the completed questionnaire was viewed as an athlete having consented to participate in the study. 3.2 Measurements: the questionnaire The questionnaire was designed to gather data on athletes opinions about antidoping issues in general, and about the whereabouts information system in particular. In addition to background information relating to gender, age, type of sport and level of achievements, the questionnaire contained questions about the athletes facilities and routines for sending in whereabouts information and questions about infringement and sanctions (general and personal). The questionnaire also contained Likert response format questions designed to measure athletes views towards the whereabouts information system. The athletes were asked to indicate on a 1-6 response format whether they disagreed (1 or 2) or agreed (5 or 6) with each statement (3 or 4 unsure). The questionnaire also contained some open-ended questions that allowed the athletes to elaborate on their responses by adding a qualitative comment. 3.3 Analysis of data Findings are presented in terms of descriptive statistics reporting the percentage of athletes agreeing or disagreeing with specific statements, as well as the median of each Likert scale response (and interquartile range). In order to investigate differences between subgroups (gender, age, type of sport) the Mann-Whitney U test for two independent samples was used. In places the quantitative data are complemented by qualitative comments from athletes to provide a more detailed illustration of athletes views in relation to particular issues. Such qualitative com
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