WMA Prez Beccalli replies on Neil Griffin doping case

No doubt about it. Cesare Beccalli of Italy/Brazil is a world-class politician. He can say a lot while saying nothing at all. I wrote him yesterday about the Neil Griffin case, asking him to comment on the assertions made by Chris Melluish. Cesare ignored the issues raised and said, “I do not have to make comments on the final decisions.” Cesare cc’d his reply to Stan Perkins (chairman of the WMA Anti-Doping Committee), Monty Hacker (WMA executive veep) and Friedel Schunk (chairman of WMA’s Law and Legislation Committee). So those three are effectively silenced, since it’s not kosher to contradict the Boss.


Anyway, here is Cesare’s note to me (with some editing on my part):
Greetings, Ken
I had read two days ago the (decision) delivered by the arbitration panel and now, in your web-site, the comments from Chris Melluish.
My comments are the following:
1. Provided that in democracy anyone is free to say or write anything he/she thinks, I do not find justified neither the concepts nor the tone of Mr. (Melluish). I do not know him and certainly will not reply (to) him.
2. In WMA we have a chairman of Anti-Doping Committee (Stan Perkins), a chairman of Law and Legislation Committee (Friedel Schunk) and a lawyer expert in doping matters who is our Executive Vice President Monty Hacker. They followed the matter and now we have a detailed conclusion made by an arbitration panel. I do not have to make comments on the final decisions.
3. At (a) strictly personal level, I can only say that I’m very sad for this case and worried about the fact that similar cases could happen again because it is possible at any time that some athletes be found guilty of doping violation despite, perhaps, they did not have specific intention to cheat. But judgments on the intentions are not admitted, (since) one committed a doping violation or not, that’s all.
The problem of (medications) containing prohibited substances is a very difficult one and makes the antidoping control for Masters athletes much more complicated (than) that for the IAAF international level athletes (which is anyway difficult enough in itself). But this is the reality which we have to face, being the only alternative to have no anti-doping control at all for Masters, which is the opinion of someone but would open so many controversial discussions of basic nature that certainly we can not examine them here.
The only thing that I can sincerely promise, and which in fact is already running, is that we are at work and will do our best to have an anti-doping policy and structure more and more responding to the needs of our competitors, of course remaining in coordination and agreement with the IAAF.
WMA President Cesare Beccalli.
Me again:
So that’s it? The IAAF and WMA can screw up the TUE application, and the athlete is at the mercy of an arbitrary arbitration panel? (BTW, I’m trying to pin down exactly who made up this panel, and what they heard as evidence.)
More important: What’s the point of a TUE (a medical waiver) if an athlete, despite jumping through all the hoops asked of him/her, still gets busted for “doping” in the end?
Yes, it’s a difficult issue. But fairness and reason demand that Neil Griffin’s case be given more serious consideration than what we’ve heard about. WMA apparently has given Neil the brush-off.
Meanwhile, the WMA Web site is silent on all this.
Maybe if “nobody knows about this,” it will all go away.
Not on my watch.

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October 27, 2006

One Response

  1. Tom Fahey - October 27, 2006

    So the WVA has an imperial presidency?

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