Tuesday, 14 October 2008

WADA question: Italian football deaths?

A startling article (in French) appeared today, in two Swiss papers: Le Matin, and its 'journal gratuite' (free), Le Matin Bleu.

The title of the article appearing on the web, is:

Roughly translated as: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the deadly disease that is decimating Italian Soccer ...
(known in France as la malodie de Charcot, and in the US as Lou Gehrig's disease)

A quick synopsis, points that former British football star Paul Gascoigne (who played during three or four years in Italy) may
recently have been diagnosed with this still-uncurable disease. The details that accompany this article should raise levels of rational fear in Italians, if not across Europe, sooner than when results from ongoing investigative research become known.


Simply put: some 39 football players whose careers passed through Italy are already dead from ALS (FR: SLA). Writer Joëlle Charrey points to relevant concerns that factor into that rational fear:

  • They all played within Italy within the last 40 years (Gascoigne was with Lazio in Rome from 1992 to 1995);

  • Italian Judge Rafaele Guariniello, who is investigating the 'coincidence', considers that some 70 'suspect deaths' may be related to this mystery (with Cause of Death ranging from cancer, leukemia, SLA, and others).

Translating the quoted words of Guariniello:

"Football players die at a rate six times higher from SLA, than a normal sample would indicate. That cannot be a coincidence."

Author Charrey pointedly asks herself, if there is a relation to dopage?

With her own analysis, there is no corrolary found in the world of cycling. Thus she questions whether any particular 'speedball' specific to football/soccer, would be a cause, and then, spectacularly, proposes that maybe something (pesticide?) found only on the Italian playing surfaces may be causal in nature.

This article is probing, and WADAwatch can only sympathize, yet again, to the soul of the Athletes who give their very lives, in seeking a better life, in achieving their own great performances, and in satisfying the thirst of Fans and Sponsors alike.

They should NOT have to die, again and again, for messages to resound throughout the world of Sport.

If WADA has extra money for research, perhaps they would be able to incorporate this quest with their own, to find the accurate link from ALS/SLA to Italian Football players, and determine who or what acted to kill these Italian players: if related to doping, it would give them a stronger, saner 'arrow' to slay the Beast that is doping.

Athletes must also be very much aware of the risks they take; sometimes, however, they may be incontrovertedly innocent of wrongdoing.

The opinions expressed by WADAwatch are
strictly formed with the purpose of inciting WADA to adhere

to its Fundamental Rationale, achieve its goals and fulfil
the aspirations of its Signatories, in achieving the
highest possible level of objective, neutral
science in sport-doping control.

Watching, sometimes, with WADA...


copyright 2008 Ww

WADA words recycled to good use...

WADAwatch found, and read with some interest, a recent press release issued after another CAS appellate anti–doping decision.

Remember the case of the America's Cup crew–member, from the winning Swiss yacht Alinghi? The lower decision regarding Simon Daubney (cocaine metabolites) has now been confirmed through CAS, on appeal from WADA (supported by the IF for yachting: ISAF), and thus the two year suspension stands (which began running on July 17, 2007, based on Daubney's voluntary withdrawal from yachting competitions).

Ever vigilant, we noted with some interest the text ascribed to the ISAF Press Release, issued under the name of Secretary General Jerome Pels, regarding the outcome of the case. He was quoted as stating the following:

“We are delighted with the outcome of the CAS Hearing. ISAF’s Anti-Doping Programme seeks to preserve what is intrinsically valuable about the spirit of sport; it is the essence of Olympism and how we play true. Doping is fundamentally contrary to the spirit of sport.” (emphasis added by Ww)

Fine words, and always a thrill when someone is 'delighted' about another lacklustre performance by Team WADA (below)...

But? Isn't there something familiar with these well–turned phrases?

Hmmm, let's look at the WADA CODE, and its Fundamental Rationale (Which, some think, remains decidedly optional amongst WADA Signatories...), written and redrafted via Committees headed by Attorney Richard Young? Review its words:

“Anti–doping programs seek to preserve what is intrinsically valuable about sport. This intrinsic value is often referred to as “the spirit of sport”; it is the essence of Olympism; it is how we play true.

(Emphasis added; (WADA CODE v3 2007 pp. 8–9 (as pdf)// p.7–8 (from Table of Contents))

Fortunately, Dick Pound is no longer 'around' to blast Secretary General Pels of the ISAF, for plagiarism (sarcasm mode OFF). When in doubt, worthy Press Officers around the World of WADA, feel free to cut–n–paste from the CODE (at least some of WADA's Signatories are capable of utilizing it...) when publishing your 'thoughts' about doping in sport.

The Daubney case never implicated the Alinghi 'team' (CODE Article 11: Consequences for Teams, includes a rational deference to the IF rules controlling whichever sport; here the ISAF). Remember: 'Team' by WADA CODE definition (both versions: 2003 and 2007) only applies to groups for which in–competition substitutions are allowed: 'football', baseball or rugby teams are concerned with Article 11; cycling, ski and yachting 'teams' are not.

However, Daubney's case did involve several irregular aspects we've come to take for granted vis–à–vis WADA–WORLD: the sailors' Samples were transported 'privately' (ie: no official courier service) from Valencia to Madrid, then they were left in the car while the two Doping Control Officers, one's son and that individual's girlfriend stopped for (expense–accounted?) lunch, then again, left in a home (ditto, for dinner), and then tested 16 days later (long after Daubney provided his urinary cupful... and Alinghi won).

BTW: at the Tour de France, the usual time lag between Doping Control and Laboratory Analysis (ostensibly 'regulated' via the International Standard(s) for Testing or Laboratories), is about 6 days.

Why so long (16 days) for the yachting crowd? Or do we know the answer?

The opinions expressed by WADAwatch are
strictly formed with the purpose of inciting WADA to adhere

to its Fundamental Rationale, achieve its goals and fulfil
the aspirations of its Signatories, in achieving the
highest possible level of objective, neutral
science in sport-doping control.

Watching (other) WADA Signatories ...


copyright 2008 Ww

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Armed–strong v ... AFLD?

Pierre Bodry is head of the French governmental Agency AFLD, which oversees the French labortoire that carries a globally acknowledged infamy nearly as strong as Floyd Landis or Lance Armstrong, for the case brought against the former, and the insinuated, unsubstantiated claims against the latter.

AFLD invited Armstrong to join in an effort to 'clear the record' by assisting at 're–analysis' of the remaining urine samples. Apparently, these remaining stores of frozen biological samplings taken from six stages of the TdF 1999, are of sufficient quantity (where, as 1999 B Samples that were 'used' as 'A Samples' in 2004–5, as part of an 'LNDD research effort' to be explored below) to be the lab equivalent of the Energizer Bunny: Armstrong's 1999 TdF urine “keeps giving and giving and giving...”.

Lance's reaction, strong and direct, was certainly the correct one: “No!”.


Because in a modern world fully capable of distorting information to an audience, presenting quasi–evidence through media channels whose very action defies
their neutrality through repetitive, proven Conflicts–of–Interest, most of the world that even cares about cycling as professional sport, has heard that 'Lance doped in 1999... EPO, right?'

It is not unreasonable to say that there's a strong inverse proportion between the number of sports journalists and fans who've 'heard' about Lance–1999–EPO, while ignoring totally the Vrijman Report.

Headlines scream! While at the same time, that dry, 132p report, a result of objective and incisive probing by the independent commission mandated under the UCI, bursting with facts, laws, international medical agreements and more, all gleaned in spite of substantive missing data (because of stonewalling in France and Montreal) lay unread, and under- or un-appreciated. To the detriment of an Athlete–cyclist whose charismatic career helped the French to earn more money on anything related to the TdF (magazines, newspapers, sponsorships, products), the world of cycling fans has swallowed unsustainable quasi–science through insinuendo.

Former WADA president Dick Pound's exclusive paradigm, which floats at the intersection of his IOC, WADA and sporting law careers, apparently hadn't previously experienced the concept of 'Northern European Reality', when the UCI engaged Emile Vrijman, a noted Dutch sporting law attorney, and former Director of the Netherlands' Anti–Doping Agency to investigate the LNDD/Equipe/WADA/AFLD conspiracy. Dick's disbelief emanated instantly in harsh reactions of shocked and shocking outrage, that the UCI would, throughout the Vrijman Report, cast aspersions against the procedures and substantive opinions presented by those pushing for the dissemination of Lance's so–called '1999–found–in–2004 results'.

Whoever provided Mr Pound with official legal advice, concerning how an inter–Federational Agency founded in 2003 (WADA) had any legal mandate to induce one of its Signatories to 'reinvestigate' 'Samples' proven negative from an event four years prior to its inception (although Pound's career suggests, perhaps, that he needed no other opinion on whose competence he depended), was unhelpful. Yet he did so, knowing that the l'Equipe (and thusly the entire sporting world) would aid and abet the effort to smear Armstrong. They certainly complied.

Thus Armstrong's recent contentions take on perfect resonance, and will probably be ignored, distorted and remain unfulfilled, while further insinuations have recently been promised by former Jean–Marie Leblanc. This was the quote attributed to Lance:

“Two years ago I agreed to have all of these issues aired and decided by that tribunal, but WADA and the French Ministry refused,” Armstrong said.

“If Mr. Bordry would now like to re-examine the past, he must start with presenting the issues of the misconduct of the French laboratory, the French Ministry, and WADA before a proper tribunal.”

Translated: Monsieur Bodry must begin any reconciliation with Lance, by resolving how the highlighted conclusions of the Vrijman report, which evidenced a serious series of violations concerning the 'findings' announced by l'Equipe in August 2005 (days after Armstrong's historic Seventh Yellow Jersey was awarded), which were not in relation to any research having been published in a scientific journal. Remember that such publishing had been done, when 1998 TdF remaining urine samples were researched by the LNDD, and its anonymous
results were published in the English scientific review Nature (in a tight, 2/3rds page article). Some of those included findings were:

  • LNDD violated the Helsinki Convention, (and by correlation WADA accepts Labs in its accreditation program that do so violate the Helsinki Conventions);

  • Someone, between allied players: the LNDD, its parent Agency AFLD, their parent Ministry for Sport, Youth and Health, or WADA, had passed information concerning any reports relevant to this inquisition to Demian Ressiot at l'Equipe (and by correlation WADA accepts Labs and Agencies in its Signatories that do so violate its Results Management restrictions);

  • The paper l'Equipe published the article written by Ressiot on August 23, 2005. The 'final report' sent from LNDD (unfortunately we are not informed if 'sent' means by Post-mail or electronically), was received by WADA and the French Ministry on August 22. Noting the impossibility of having published a story that had to have been completed, submitted, reviewed, cleared by Legal, edited, and published prior to that same day (the 22), means Ressiot received and was working on scoring more information long before either two of the only three entities (including the UCI);

  • The paper l'Equipe implied through its article (above), that its journalist had been 'working on this case' for at least four months. July–June–May–April: somewhere between April and May, admittedly, Demian Ressiot had been informed and was pursuing Armstrong's alleged doping trail assiduously; does this imply that the information from 1999 was being held through four months, pending confirmatory analyses anticipated from Lance's last Tour participation and victory? Which implies that l'Equipe was NOT prepared to sacrifice the loss in profits to itself and its parent organization ASO–TdF, by publishing, prior to the last Tour de Lance.

Our retrospective continues:

  • Two seemingly ignored (at least by this researcher), historical articles were published in Le Monde, in July of 1999; they allowed Vrijman to suppose that the names of the allegedly doped 1999 TdF riders were long known by Team l'Equipe, but there were no identifying Sample numbers with which to correlate the data (which Sample is whose?). Yet, as the 2000 Nature article accords data summations only on the 1998 samples, apparently whatever transpired through 'research' on the 1999 Samples was buried, in the preparation of the LNDD 2000 Nature r–EPO article;

  • Vrijman also states, evidently based on communications between his investigators and WADA, that WADA 'had no jurisdiction in this case': then under what influence or motivation was WADA pressuring UCI to 'investigate' Armstrong and cite a violation of UCI rules (?);

  • WADA uses the term 'transparency' in a heavy–handed letter insisting that 'public opinion' must be fulfilled through a thorough UCI investigation, yet refused beyond a point certain to cooperate, its pressure on the UCI also negates its own 'Results Management' system (although, again, the question of WADA's jurisdiction retains some hold on the resolution of this issue), under Pound, what was WADA's definition of 'transparency' (?);

  • In regarding any research on identifiable Samples (the publication of 'donors' being banned when the 'research' has been turned back against that donor, as in this situation) by the Helsinki Conventions, impeccable documentation of Chain of Custody nevertheless remains a prerequisite to publishing scientific research as conclusive. According to Vrijman, “There is no chain of custody...” (for these research Samples). Any reputable Agency publishing any reliable 'science' would prioritize retention of a C–o–C document.

While Vrijman's mandate from the UCI included all facets of this contention against Armstrong, there is a more profound hypocrisy buried within the report, which betrays yet again the bias against Lance Armstrong: the Equipe article mentioned 'six other riders'.

In a Tour de France under ideal conditions these last ten years, 189 riders are at the first–day starting line. Thus, according to admission by Ressiot as quasi–official LNDD spokesman, SEVEN riders were implicated. Of those 189 riders, some 39 are French. Of those 39 French riders, some five were active members of the Festina Team, whose outrageously embarrassing conduct the year before is highly responsible for creation of Dick Pound's WADA. Thus, there is a 20.6 per cent chance that any one of the 'other six' riders was French, and this author is not the statistician that could say what mathematical possibility exists that a greater proportion of the other six riders could have been French.

We could propose that Erik Zabel may be one of those concerned, according to the 2007 confession he offered. Or he could have been 'scared straight' by the 1998 Festina experiences: we may not know until he retires and writes his memoires.

The proper avenue out of this turbulent troubling tempest?

Why not take Lance seriously: invite the relevant French Ministry officials from 1999 to 2005 to testify in court, alongside Dick Pound, and AFLD? LNDD can produce its research results, its testing procedures (which we are not sure have been adopted universally amongst the 33 accredited WADA–accredited laboratories), and WADA can justify its published stance regarding the trustworthiness of its Labs' non–standardized Laboratory Standards?

A court could do what WADA demonstrably has not been proven capable of doing alone: define the abuses of power and leaking that led to a deflated public opinion of the one man whose spectacular talents rehabilitated the greatest Cycling race, after a French team with a majority of French riders nearly destroyed this French event enjoyed throughout the world. Having this case cleared would certainly benefit others besides Lance Armstrong, such as Jean–Marie Leblanc, who for much too long has given his fellow countrymen every benefit of the doubt.

The opinions expressed by WADAwatch are
strictly formed with the purpose of inciting WADA to adhere

to its Fundamental Rationale, achieve its goals and fulfil
the aspirations of its Signatories, in achieving the
highest possible level of objective, neutral
science in sport-doping control.

Watching Signatories of WADA...


copyright 2008 Ww

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Clerc FIRED by ASO : Step one???

Welcome back my Friends, to the ...

What a month to be reborn in!!!

A world slithering down a financial black hole, where rumours cost business Billions, in less time than any sportsman's career can be destroyed by innuendo + insinuation... insinuendo?

Since last publishing WADAwatch columns, inexorable progress continues on all fronts of the problem, and one of the greatest revelations is that of Lance Armstrong's return to the sport we love... Will the French Ministry and Agency, AFLD, rise to the challenge and buy a new testing machine, capable of running more current software than that used by Professeur de Ceaurriz in years and cases past?

WADAwatch (Ww) does not know.

But we do know this: whatever motivated Mme Amaury, widow of the founder of the French publishing dynasty (Editions Amaury) that owns the Tour de France, through its filliale Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), has made a major concilliatory move towards the UCI, with today's HOT news of the firing of Patrice Clerc, former president of ASO.

Thus the following cartoons become history:


04 April 2008

KICKING ASO (and taking names later)



05 March 2008

Cycling earns a RED CARD...

Shame on you, Amaury Sport Organisation. ...

If only we could know how Pat McQuaid and Madame Amaury came into such good karma...

Or, maybe we do know?

Any quid - pro - quo having affair with Hein Verbruggen's retirement from UCI (Founder of the ProTour concept, and staying on after his own UCI presidency as a vice-president)?

With Patrice Clerc and Hein Verbruggen RED CARDED for life, maybe the sport and the organizers can concentrate more concerted efforts to guarantee, as Signatories, that WADA is about to (or has silently) institute a competent laboratory proficiency program that provides assurances already 'on paper', if never actively supported by WADA, ensuring that Athletes, guilty or otherwise, are assured 99.999 per cent competence by the laboratories and staffs that serve them through testing and lab analysis consistency.

It shouldn't be that hard to do the right job!

Awaiting more information, and perhaps Chapter Three? If Verbruggen was Chapter One... What concessions or improvements will WADA impliment, as part of the 'eternal triangle' that controls doping in sport?


The opinions expressed by WADAwatch are
strictly formed with the purpose of inciting WADA to adhere

to its Fundamental Rationale, achieve its goals and fulfil
the aspirations of its Signatories, in achieving the
highest possible level of objective, neutral
science in sport-doping control.

Watching Signatories of WADA...


copyright 2008 Ww

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