Saturday, December 5, 2015

Time to dump Stuart Miller

Christopher Clarey has a good piece on anti-doping in the New York Times. The best lines, of course, comes from statements by the ITF's Clouseau-esque anti-doping manager, Stuart Miller. Miller once again shows that he is not up to the job.

Miller states: "But as anybody knows, and in any antidoping program in any sport around the world, you can’t test every player in every event in every round of the competition. You pick and choose to provide a balance of detection and deterrence. In a lot of events, we test right at the end. In some other events, we go and get a larger number of players who play the first round who, once they’ve lost, might be lost to the program for a little while. We need to maintain variety. We need to maintain unpredictability."

So, let's break this down a bit: "In a lot of events, we test right at the end. In some other events, we go and get a larger number of players who play the first round who, once they’ve lost." On the other hand, "We need to maintain unpredictability." Seems to me Miller is stating that the program is quite predictable. That is, testing is neither random nor targeted. Instead, in some tournaments the testing is end-loaded and in others the testing is front-loaded. The testing regimes at the tournament would be quite obvious to players.

Miller also has this gem: "We’ve had doping violations for Mariano Puerta, Martina Hingis, Richard Gasquet and Marin Cilic; these are all top-10 players...And there have only been 80 violations over the last 25 years, so that’s 6 or 7 percent of them who have been top-10 players. So I don’t think that a broad-brush statement that we don’t catch stars or whatever that means is necessarily true. But it’s important that we don’t just test the very top players."

The fact that tennis has only 80 violations (how many players have been exonerated?) over a 25 year period just indicates that the anti-doping program is a piece of garbage. The fact that some "top" players were caught when the total sample size of violations is so small proves absolutely nothing.

One last point, in the article, Miller claims that 600 players now have bio-passport profiles. That sounds plain goofy and a profound waste of resources. The ITF must be creating profiles on extremely marginal players. Bio-passport profiles are something for the top echelon of players (e.g. the top 50). The ITF appears to be collecting passports in a broad and shallow manner rather than narrow and deep. I wonder why?

9 comments:

  1. Blood boiling.........

    "We’ve had doping violations for Mariano Puerta, Martina Hingis, Richard Gasquet and Marin Cilic; these are all top-10 players,”
    They realize that in the current climate of sport (for PR reasons) they have to look like they're being tough on big names, so they evoke a 12 year old genuine doping offence, 2 high profile recreational drug use cases, and a "good and honorable man" (per CAS documention), whose mother purchased the wrong glucose tablets?..... Unbelievable.

    "Some tests classified as out-of-competition are being conducted at tournament sites on players who have been eliminated, but Miller said those represented only about 10 percent of the total."
    So, OOC testing was even less than we thought?

    “My knowledge of what NADOs do is they look at risks within sports, and maybe they don’t regard tennis as a high risk,” Howman [of WADA] said.

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  2. “My knowledge of what NADOs do is they look at risks within sports, and maybe they don’t regard tennis as a high risk,” Howman [of WADA] said."
    Maybe? it's a fact.....
    Did Chris Reedie (president of the WADA) not say there isn't a drug problem in racket sports? Also take into consideration there was very few Tennis players tested by the USADA in Q3.
    As infuriating as this is, non action in Tennis is obviously a directive fed from the top down.The same attitude will probably be applied to the summer Olympics in Rio where they'll be intent on catching all the Russian's out in athletics.

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  3. "Spanish daily El País has reported that in January Madrid’s Provincial Court will publish its verdict on the appeals made by, amongst others, WADA and the UCI against the initial sentences in the Operación Puerto anti-doping probe.

    The as-yet-unconfirmed newspaper report claims that the verdict will also make it clear whether the dozens of blood bags that formed part of the Puerto evidence and and which are currently stored at a Barcelona anti-doping lab will be released."

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/operacion-puerto-appeals-sentence-due-for-january-2016/

    Not getting my hopes up, but given the current climate of doping and corruption scandals, there will be a lot of pressure on the Spaniards to do the right thing.

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  4. Good read

    http://www.sportsintegrityinitiative.com/after-fifaiaaf-corruption-time-for-institutional-change/


    "What is the solution? First, those involved in sport need to speak out and support others who do whistle-blow. Second, we need to look at either extending WADA’s remit or creating a WADA-style independent anti-corruption world body that focuses not only on participants in sport but on those who run it, who award contracts and so on. Third, there needs to be a proper separation of powers, within each sport (or with the creation of a new global body), between regulation and administration. The regulator must be institutionally and, as far as possible, financially independent from those administrating the sport. It must have the powers and the will to investigate and prosecute those who are at the highest levels of sport. Fourth, there needs to be judicial and state support for such an independent regulator. An independent regulator should have similar powers to the police in order to properly investigate and prosecute corruption. If not, it must be able to seek court orders in its support, as well as the co-operation of national law enforcement agencies."

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  5. Pro sports are businesses delivering a product to a consumer. The fans are the consumer (paying all the bills, directly or indirectly). Until fans really understand the issues, and exert real pressure for clean, safe, and fair sport, anti-doping will be half-baked.

    The article below is an insightful exploration of this issue, IMO..

    http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/tipping-point-public-proves-ineffectual-army-in-doping-fight-1.2456238

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  6. As far as "One last point, in the article, Miller claims that 600 players now have bio-passport profiles. That sounds plain goofy and a profound waste of resources"

    you are right 100% because:



    The fundamental principle of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP)
    is to monitor selected variables (`biomarkers of doping ́) over time
    that indirectly reveal the effect of doping, as opposed to the traditional
    direct detection of doping by analytical doping controls.
    In effect the ABP is a tool for keeping track of the changing
    variables in human physiology. Unlike conventional testing it does
    not directly determine the existence of doping substances in the body
    system but instead considers its indirect consequences. This method
    is often argued as being the next generation in anti-doping testing; a
    more effective test, one with greater potential than conventional testing.
    Yet there is ample evidence that supports the notion that, like
    conventional testing, the ABP is far from perfect and as such supports
    the supposition that current anti-doping is ineffective....

    An additional issue with the ABP can be found in the
    research by Ashenden, Gough, Garnham, Gore & Sharpe [70]. Their
    research involved the intravenous injection of recombinant human
    erythropoietin (rhEPO) into 10 subjects for up to 12 weeks. Results of
    the study found that in microdose amounts EPO was undetectable in the
    ABP. If the ABP at present is not even detecting what it was introduced
    to detect then one can quite clearly conclude that it is ineffective....

    full article on:

    http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/antidoping-systems-in-sports-are-doomed-to-fail-a-probability-and-cost-analysis-2161-0673.1000148.pdf

    Conclusion of the study:

    The alternative is to invest additional funds
    into the development of more advanced, efficient and effective tests for
    the detection of doping!!

    Final Comment: nothing new under the sun!!

    Best regards.

    Fabrice

    PS all the "Fab Four" ( and other Top 20 Tennis Players ) always say that they are against doping but no one puts his money where his mouth is!! What a strange coincidence!!
    Oups, I forgot!
    Rafael Nadal has recently said that he would put a very small percentage of his yearly earnings to fight the doping in tennis!

    What can I say?

    That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.......!!

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  7. I forgot another meaningful link in relation to the matter of Athlete Biological Passport!!

    Here it is:

    Sport to adopt athlete biological passport
    Don Catlin says tennis should increase tests instead

    Catlin is the man behind the renowned UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, which he ran for 25 years. Now president and chief executive officer of Anti-Doping Research, a company in Los Angeles, he remains deeply involved in the science of sport and believes tennis is reacting to pressure rather than tackling the big problems for the right reasons.

    "I would tell them not to bother," Catlin told the Guardian. "They're better off to increase the number of tests they do rather than spend it all on the passport. Doubling or tripling urine tests would be of more value than starting a passport because you need such a long lead-in.....

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/mar/12/tennis-anti-doping-expert-drug-testing

    Best regards.

    Fabrice

    PS why didn't they double or triple urine tests which would have been a more effective way (of course if they are well managed ) to spot dopers?

    Did ( and do ) they want to cover some serial top dopers?

    Who knows....!!


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  8. The BBC Panorama expose into FIFA corruption was utterly compelling.

    For those in the UK (or with a VPN)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06tkl9d/panorama-fifa-sepp-blatter-and-me

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  9. This is laughable. He's pretty much making his 'unpredictable' process 'predictable' to everyone with this statements. Now we know, by their own numbers that (http://www.itftennis.com/antidoping/statistics/data.aspx) - with 600 profiles - excluding urine testing, you can't possibly have a reliable indicator with just 1300 blood tests. There's no predicitibility power with, at most, 3 samples per year per athlete. Or a little more, considering that a 34 year old that wins tournaments outlasting younger players gets no testing according to the man himself. How can they even build a case with so little evidence.

    The ITF is a joke.

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