Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The ITF Anti-Doping Budget: Do the $s Make Sense?

I managed to track down the ITF's actual anti-doping budget for 2008 (the result of a ridiculous amount of Googling), plus estimated budgets for 2009-2011. I'm trying to track down more recent numbers, but given that this information is available online on the ITF's website, I find it odd that the ITF refused to disclose this information when I asked them.


  1. Yeh these numbers are all in the annual reports of the ITF.

    I wasn't too far wrong in my previous post that guestimated an annual spend of $2 million US.

    Interesting that the ITF spend 4 times as much on anti-doping as they do on marketing the game. Probably goes some way to highlighting the priority for the ITF if it is not inconvenient to say that.

    When you look at the ITF's total income, their other expense lines and retained earnings you can see that the spend on anti-doping is a massive budget line for this organisation.

    The ITF is funded by its members. It doesn't get anything but a grant from the Grand Slams which are the real powerhouses in terms of revenue raising in tennis.

    Look at the income statement for the USTA for example and it will make the ITF look like a pauper.

    1. Why isn't the ITF leaning more on the Grand Slams and others to kick-in funds for anti-doping? The French Open just increased their prize money by 7% ($1.6 million) for this year. That increase is more that than ITF's entire anti-doping budget. Surely, the ITF can make the case for these organizations to chip in? Are they even asking?

      How is it that UCI's anti-doping budget is many times the ITF's? There's much more money in tennis.

    2. Secondly, why is the anti-doping budget included as part of the Presidential/Communication budget? Seems odd.

    3. Good point Sen. Surely the total tennis marketing costs are more than $400k per year?! This surely must be a select type of marketing not done by individual tournaments etc. After all $400k is the equivalent of what, a single 30 second ad on US prime time TV? And just this for the whole year?

      God knows what this amount actually consists of in that case. Not junkets or long 'sponsor lunches' I'm sure!

  2. SEN there is much more money in tennis but not for the ITF. The ITF income comes from member fees plus some income from Davis Cup which is pretty much the only tennis event the ITF own.

    The slams have huge income but also huge expenses staging their events and building and maintaining the massive stadium upgrades they need for their events. Plus meeting the demands of players for increased prize money.

    Bottom line is it all gets spent. And the ITF marketing budget is for promoting the Davis Cup which is the only event they really own. So $500k seems about right for DC marketing.

    1. Richard, this doesn't explain why UCI was able to bring the extra funds for more testing and tennis is not. You speak as though the Grand Slams have no choice, but to put all the cash into additional prize money and other expenses. This can't be true. Choices are being made, and one choice they are making to not fund doping control.

      For example, instead of increasing the prize pool by 7% ($1.6 million), the French Open could have easily increased the prize pool by $1 million and set aside the remaining $600,000 for additional testing by the ITF. They CHOSE not to do this.

      And the ITF continues to bleat that tennis program is fine and that the sport is clean, implying that the anti-doping budget is sufficient.

      It cannot be more clear that there is a lack of will within tennis to take on doping in a serious manner. The funds are available.

  3. I was told by the ITF that their budget for anti-doping was around $1.5 million when I asked them a couple of months ago.

    1. You had better luck than me with the ITF. They appear to have stopped answering my questions altogether. I asked them whether Dr. Miller's statements regarding tennis not lending itself to doping represented the official views of the ITF. It's been over a week and they haven't responded.

  4. Some questions?

    How does the ITF budget compare to the UCI budget, to those of FIFA, IRU, IAAF etc etc

    What percentage of income is it (and how does that compare with other sports?)

    Richard - pointing out that it is more than the marketing budget tells us nothing and claiming it as evidence of the seriousness of the sport in cleaning up is a specious sophist argument.

  5. You need to understand how the ITF is structured. It is a member organisation and the Slams are the heavy weight members. The Slams are tennis. In a review I saw they generate over 95% of the value in all of tennis. That is right, one Slam generates more revenue the the whole ATP Tour combined. The Slams call the shots and the ITF is not going to alienate the Slams publicly on this issue.

    I have no doubt there are lots of representations made privately by the ITF for more funding from the Slams for this and other items. But don't expect the ITF to do so publicly towards its key members.

    So your approach here SEN is one with good intent. You are pushing the ITF to demand more money from the Slams to increase anti-doping testing because you are sure there is a problem. But the Slams don't see there is a problem. And that is your biggest issue.

    I would go the other way. I would show there is a problem by demanding the release of the Spanish records that show evidence, watch the cases go forward under WADA and the IF's, and then see the scale of issue attract funding required.

    It is the old story. There is a crisis and people act. It happened after the French cycling matter in Australia (which resulted in a massive budget increase and ASADA). It happened in cycling with the Festina matter and other cases of formalised team doping that resulted in the CADF, it even happened for the creation of WADA.

    To show the crisis you fear, the Spanish must release the files which we are told shows strong evidence of doping by athletes. I understand that tennis players may be in those files. If there is already evidence then work to get it released.

    1. I did sympathise with Moonax's last paragraph, but this post is much better! We dream of the day that the full Spanish files are released to the public. The problem is that apart from a couple of questions which disappeared from news a day or two later no pressure at all is being put on Spain. (Tennis 'journalist' Peter Bodo was calling the Puerto case "old news" recently after the Yannick Noah comments, as though because this has been deliberately kept under wraps for so long, it is now ignorable and meaningless. The irony is that Bodo is the one who is increasingly meaningless.)

      The problem is the mainstream media apathy. And the general population, including mainstream media, not having the guts to look the facts in the face, hence they quietly let Spain keep it under the rug.

    2. But Richard, what can you mean? Francesco Ricci Bitti said back in 2006 that "We have today been assured in writing by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science that no tennis players, either Spanish or foreign, are under investigation."

    3. The Spanish authorities have indicated to all and sundry that no one athlete is under investigation. Investigation for criminal conduct. The Spanish split hairs. Criminal conduct and breaches of doping rules are different things at different levels requiring different standards of proof.

      To break a law the evidence must be beyond a reasonable doubt. To breach a doping rule the evidence must be to a comfortable satisfaction which is a much lower standard. So basically evidence that would be dismissed for a criminal charge can easily meet the burden of proving a doping offence.

      The issue is these Spanish files have not been examined by WADA for breaches of anti-doping rules. Nor have the files been made available to the IF's to review against their anti-doping rules.

      The Spanish files sit (as far as I can see from media reports and my contacts), locked up somewhere in Spain.

      FRB's comments are accurate in that this is what the Spanish tell everyone. No one is under investigation by the Spanish.

      So release the files to WADA so this evidence can be judged against anti-doping rules and not just against Spanish law.

      When that happens I will be confident that those files have been properly and independently examined by the global watchdog in WADA. And WADA is the body who should get these files.

      If this blog wants evidence of doping, the answer of yes or no for top tennis players is likely sitting in these Spanish files. Call loudly for their release.

    4. We've been talking about Operation Puerto since this blog was created in 2009. However, the tennis press doesn't care.

      When Yannick Noah spoke about doping problems in Spain last year, the tennis media mercilessly attacked him for "having no proof." Puerto is dismissed as a case involving only cyclists, and talked about as though the investigation is over. There is a willful ignorance on the part of the tennis media, and nothing will change until a crisis hits, and they will do nothing until that happens (just like the press in the case of major league baseball).

      Spain is clearly dragging their heels on the Puerto case and I assume their goal is to get past the WADA's 8 year statute of limitations. They've almost succeeeded as they have only 2 more years to go since the case broke in 2006. And given that some of the violations took place prior to 2006 it is likely that the statute of limitations may have already passed for some cases.

      In my view, WADA should deem Spain to be out of compliance with the WADA Code. The country is clearly not honoring the spirit of the agreement. They should also be prevented from hosting international events, and, in fact, prevented from participating in international events (including the Olympics) until they come clean. These types of heavy handed sanctions are the only thing that will force them to release the information (if they haven't destroyed any of it).

      However, I doubt the WADA and IOC have the fortitude to take the necessary action.

    5. The only people of note who were banned as a result of Puerto were Ivan Basso (by the Italians), Michaele Scarponi (by the Italians), Jan Ullrich.

      Piti Valverde was banned but only because the Italians managed to get the Spanish to release the information about the suspected bloodbag when the judge concerned was on holiday. The Italians then took a blood sample from Valverde when he was riding in Italy and managed to match it.

      If it weren't for the Italians Piti Valverde would still be riding.

      The likes of Contador were also implicated and 'cleared'.

      One that is of course closer to home for Richard Ings is Allan Davis.

      It is very hard to view Puerto as incompetence rather than conspiracy.

      However, we should not attribute this purely as a Spanish problem. The refusal to prosecute Lance Armstrong by the US authorities also stinks to high heaven. It goes to show that it is not just Spain where prominent actors think that doping 'isn't an important issue'.

  6. SEN I appreciate your views and share several of them. But we run into the reality and realpolitik of this issue.

    Spain is in compliance with the WADA Code. The WADA Code requires certain things of nations but it does not require nations to implement specific laws. That would be a breach of national sovereignty and governments would never vote for it at the WADA Foundation Board level. So dictating laws is a non-starter.

    And the issue in Spain is the laws which appear to prohibit the release of briefs of evidence like Puerto. I believe it was a Spanish court that blocked the release so a decision independent of government. So the issue in Spain is changing the laws, much as what has happened in Australia, the UK, and many other nations to allow such brief of evidence to pass from judicial authorities to non-government authorities such as sports.

    Don't underestimate the difficulty of making this happen. Investigative bodies such as Customs are not thrilled at all to be handing over briefs of judicial evidence to "community organisations" like sports due to concerns about compromising ongoing inquiries, or fearful of breaches of privacy or misuse of the information. That is where it is critical to setup a government anti-doping agency as the go between who can be established with the safeguards and reputation to properly handle briefs of evidence while being subject to government privacy requirements etc. Such a body (like ASADA) makes it easy for agencies like Customs to get a brief of evidence across for action under anti-doping rules.

    Anyway we talk about what Spain needs. They need allot and no one would argue the point on that. I just find it frustrating if the evidence is already there. All the target testing in the world will come nowhere need the evidence in the Puerto files.

    1. Spain was out of compliance with WADA rules as of October 2011 when:

      "Spain’s Supreme Court upheld an appeal lodged by the nation’s professional cycling association (ACP) against changes to anti-doping rules that were adopted in 2009, saying the government did not adequately consult those affected.

      "The cabinet had approved the changes to the testing regime in 2009 to address concerns expressed by the IOC in its assessment of Madrid’s failed bid for the 2016 summer Games.

      "Reacting to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the IOC said Spain had been deemed compliant by WADA and the government had plenty of time to enact any changes to the testing regime before the 2020 Olympic host city election."

      The moment the law was struck down Spain was out of compliance. However, WADA and IOC sit on the hands. The last story I saw from Feb. 2012, indicated that Spanish law continues to out of compliance, as noted by their minister for sport Jose Ignacio Wert:

      "...we have every intention of making sure Spain's anti-doping law conforms with WADA's anti-doping code," Wert said at the Forum de la Nueva Sociedad."

    2. You are more current than me then SEN. I would expect nothing less!

      Normally WADA gives government more time on compliance issues than IF's given that governments have democratic processes to go through to draft, review and pass legislation. I am out of date on what the latest timelines are for that for governments. Sorry I can't help.

      The IOC and WADA have strong teeth to use a stick on non-compliant bodies. For governments the reality of that is that nations are unlikely to get a Games if they are not compliant. And IF's should strongly consider not giving World Championships to nations with non-compliant anti-doping rules.

  7. What it all comes down to is "will".

    It is pure BS that the Spanish didn't have the correct laws to press charges for "Puerto". The Spaniards had the Olympics in 1992 in Barcelona. The IOC would not have given the Olympics to a country that had no laws against doping.

    As we have seen since Spain passed their new "post Puerto" laws, the Spaniards are still refusing to prosecute anyone for doping. Every single athlete that has been caught with drugs/testing positive/dealing drugs,... has been "exonerated" by the Spanish courts. Fuentes, who has been caught THREE TIMES is still offering his doping services to a professional sports club (and keeps threatening to expose Spanish sporting "glory" as a total fraud).

    It is clear as crystal, the Spaniards want to go on STEALING international sporting "glory", while using every means at their disposal to protect the dirty athletes, and doping doctors. There is no incentive for the Spaniards to play fair, as long as Richard Ings (enabler extrodinaire), and others keep making excuses for them.

    1. Agree. Total lack will on the part of Spain's political system.

      Is there really anything that need be said about Spain after the Contador ruling? Exhibit A:

      "The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) initially proposed a one-year ban after Contador tested positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol. [Then prime minister] Zapatero responded by saying via his official government Twitter account that there was no legal reason to sanction the rider and shortly afterwards the RFEC overturned the ban, clearing the way for Contador to return to competition."

      If that wasn't grounds enough for WADA and IOC to sanction Spain out then I don't know what it. The Spanish agencies are not independent and there is clear cut political interference in decision making.

    2. Oh, and not only that but also this:

      "Angel Juanes, président of the Audiencia Nacional Española, the highest legal court after the supreme court, said in El Mundo on Sunday that the rider could not be found guilty under Spanish law.

      "In what might be interpreted as a very unusual public commentary prior to a sensitive sporting decision, Juanes told the newspaper that Contador “has not doped” and “should be acquitted.”

      Read more:

    3. mrsn10sdave in 1992 it was the wild west. No one was asked to much of anything.

      The IOC focus on laws has really come to the fore with both the WADA Code standardisation in 2004 (?) and the 2006 winter games doping issues (where only the tough Italian anti-doping laws helped catch those involved).

      There is no point in going back earlier than 2004 on these issues because the rules in place universally before that were simply full of holes.