Tennis mulls anti-doping step

Updated 13 November 2012
0

Tennis mulls anti-doping step

PARIS: Tennis is looking at whether it can adopt measures pioneered by cycling to weed out drug cheats.
ITF anti-doping manager Stuart Miller told The Associated Press that tennis’ governing federation is working hard to do more blood and out-of-competition tests on players.
In the wake of cyclist Lance Armstrong’s life ban from sports for doping, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have called for more out-of-competition and blood testing in tennis.
Murray called the Armstrong case “pretty shocking.” “You would hate for anything like that to happen to your own sport,” Murray said before the season-ending ATP finals.
Federer said: “We don’t do a lot of blood testing during the year. I’m okay having more of that.” In a phone interview, the ITF’s Miller said: “We’re working hard to try to increase the proportion of out-of-competition testing, and particularly blood testing, and we’ve been working on that for a while.” “I’m hopeful that by the end of the year we’ll have made some inroads into improving that. Like any anti-doping program, we’re subject to resource constraints,” he said.
Cycling, followed by track and field, also runs so-called “biological passport” programs that monitor athletes’ blood readings over time for possible tell-tale indications of doping. The federations for those sports, the UCI and the IAAF, have used evidence of doping gathered from their passport programs to ban athletes and to target others for more testing.
Without giving a fixed timeframe, Miller said “it would be nice” if tennis can establish a similar monitoring system in 2013.
“We are looking very, very carefully at an athlete biological passport program in tennis,” he said.
“I don’t want to say it’s definitely happening until we actually say, ‘Here’s a program. It’s up and running.’ We’re looking at it to ensure that if we do run it, we can run it properly.” The ITF and the World Anti-Doping Agency conducted just 21 out-of-competition blood tests — used to detect the abuse of growth hormone, transfusions using blood from donors, and blood-doping substances CERA and HBOCs — in tennis in 2011.
Just three of those were on women players. ITF statistics on its web site show it didn’t test Serena Williams out of competition at all in 2010 and 2011, years she won the Australian Open and Wimbledon and lost a US Open final. The ITF did test her in competition.
The US Anti-Doping Agency’s web site also shows that before one test in the second quarter of this year, it hadn’t organized a test on the 15-time major winner since 2008.
Williams said last month, “I get tested a lot.” “For me, it’s a pretty intense system, and I know a lot of the players feel the same way,” she said.
Cycling conducted 6,500 more tests than tennis on professional road racers last year and an average of nine tests per rider, compared to an average 3.4 tests per player in tennis.
Of the 642 tested tennis players, 510 were not tested out of competition at all in 2011. By way of comparison, Canadian cyclist Ryder Hesjedal, winner of the Giro d’Italia, has had 22 urine tests and 13 blood controls so far this year.
The ITF budget shows it spent $1.3 million on testing in 2011, which Miller said doesn’t include salaries and other operating expenses.
That is less than Federer and Williams each pocketed for winning the men and women’s singles titles at Wimbledon this year.
Cycling says it spent $4.7 million on testing alone in 2011, with teams, riders, race organizers and the UCI all contributing.


Panathinaikos banned from Europe for three years by UEFA

Updated 6 min 59 sec ago
0

Panathinaikos banned from Europe for three years by UEFA

  • Panathinaikos players went on strike earlier this month over unpaid wages, and had also been hit with a three-point deduction by the Greek Super League over outstanding debts owed to former defender Jens Wemmer.
  • The 20-time Greek champions have a rich heritage in Europe, having lost the 1971 European Cup final to Ajax before semifinal defeats by Liverpool in 1985 and Ajax in 1996.

PARIS: Greek giants Panathinaikos have been banned from European competition for three years by UEFA for failing to pay their debts, European football’s governing body announced on Tuesday.
The club were handed a suspended sentence in December and given until March 1 to settle their unpaid bills, but failed to do so and have been fined €100,000 ($122,398), having also been ordered to pay the same amount in December.
They appeared unlikely to qualify for Europe next season anyway, though, sitting seventh in the Greek top flight.
Panathinaikos players went on strike earlier this month over unpaid wages, and had also been hit with a three-point deduction by the Greek Super League over outstanding debts owed to former defender Jens Wemmer.
Owner Yiannis Alafouzos agreed to sell the club to an Asian investment group on Saturday.
The 20-time Greek champions have a rich heritage in Europe, having lost the 1971 European Cup final to Ajax before semifinal defeats by Liverpool in 1985 and Ajax in 1996.
Earlier this season, they were beaten by Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League playoff round.
Greek football has been plagued by controversy this season, with several high-profile incidents.
PAOK president Ivan Savvidis was banned for three years last month after invading the pitch with a gun during a game against title rivals AEK Athens, while former Olympiakos coach Oscar Garcia was hit by a cashier’s roll thrown by a PAOK fan during a match in February.
The Spaniard later resigned after Olympiakos president Evangelos Marinakis fined and exiled first-team players over perceived bad results.