Morris Review of Anti Doping and Medication Control in Ireland

Morris Review of Anti Doping and Medication Control in Ireland

Rásaíocht Con Éireann today warned owners and trainers who do not comply with anti doping and medication control regulations that they will be targeted and severely sanctioned from the sport. The warning came as Rásaíocht Con Éireann published details of initiatives to enhance integrity in the sport and to strengthen the programme of radical reforms introduced by the GRI in the past year.

Additional measures now include out of competition testing which can be undertaken through new statutory instruments introduced by the Rásaíocht Con Éireann in the past month. Rásaíocht Con Éireann is also to activate further powers of investigation and increased sanctions for those in breach of regulation which it requested from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The publication of the details of additional initiatives introduced in recent months comes as a review commissioned by Rásaíocht Con Éireann itself into integrity in Irish Greyhound racing, carried out by Professor Timothy Morris, Independent Scientific Adviser to the Greyhound Board of Great Britain on Anti-doping and Medication Control, is published.

Today’s Rásaíocht Con Éireann announcement is the latest phase of its response to the Indecon Report, the major Government-commissioned review of the industry carried out in 2014.

The Report was presented to a meeting of greyhound industry stakeholders yesterday (Thursday July 14th). Those attending have been asked to review in detail the Report and Rásaíocht Con Éireann response as set out in its anti-doping programme and to revert back to the Board with their own views on its content.

Since the Indecon Report was published, Rásaíocht Con Éireann has introduced a comprehensive suite of new statutory instruments and regulations designed to strengthen compliance within the industry and to facilitate the imposition of severe sanctions against the small minority within the sport who breach anti doping protocols.

“Our stated intention is to establish a regulatory and enforcement environment that targets non compliance with anti doping and medication controls,” said Mr. Phil Meaney, chairman of the Rásaíocht Con Éireann. “These exist to ensure the integrity of the sport and the welfare of greyhounds. The Irish greyhound industry has a high reputation internationally for the quality and integrity of its racing. That is something we want to preserve and enhance and we simply won’t allow a small minority to jeopardise it,” he added.

In the past twelve months, Rásaíocht Con Éireann has introduced new regulations which enable it to:
• Publish all laboratory results where there is an adverse analytical finding
• Prohibit a greyhound from racing when an adverse analytical finding has been made until such time as a test for prohibited substances has been carried out and the result of the test is negative
• Publish all Control Committee decisions
• Undertake out of competition testing at kennels

There has been a significant ramping up of Rásaíocht Con Éireann’s testing regime and of the sanctions it imposes, using the existing legislative framework. These include:
• In-competition testing at all high profile events
• Testing at greyhound sales and trials
• Prosecutions under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011
• Stricter licensing conditions on trainers’ licences
• Investigation and prosecution of cases involving anabolic steroids
• Revocation of licences of trainers found to have committed anti-doping breaches
• Issuing of Disqualification Orders of the involved Greyhounds;
• Establishment of list of laboratories for independent analysis of the “B sample on request from owners and trainers

In additional initiatives, Rásaíocht Con Éireann has established a Scientific Committee of national and international experts to advise it on matters relating to doping and medication control. The findings of the Scientific Committee will the basis of annual briefings for industry stakeholders. A National Greyhound Consultative Forum has also been established bringing all stakeholders together on a wider variety of greyhound related matters, including anti-doping and medication control.

Rásaíocht Con Éireann has lead the establishment of an operational regulatory stakeholder group on the Management of Intelligence and Drugs Action in Sports (MIDAS) to share best practice on rules, research and intelligence in so far as is permitted within existing legislation.

Following the publication of the Morris Report, Rásaíocht Con Éireann proposes working with other regulators to explore the opportunity to combine the laboratory resources of all animal sports bodies into a single national resource so as to underpin our international sporting reputation.Rásaíocht Con Éireann is also in the process of developing an education programme to cover practical and academic aspects of general greyhound knowledge including aspects of breeding, rearing, training and racing.

Following the completion of the Morris Report, Rásaíocht Con Éireann is to:
• Further consider the conclusions in the Report in areas of prohibited substances and strict liability.
• Complete an organisational review to achieve additional resource allocation with particular reference to specialist technical expertise in the veterinary/analytical area
• Work with the Minister and officials to further modernise the anti-doping measures and available sanctions in our establishing legislation
• Recommend stronger sanctions to the Control Committee and the Control Appeal Committee as being appropriate for breaches of anti-doping and medication control legislation.

The CEO of Rásaíocht Con Éireann, Ms Geraldine Larkin said that the Rásaíocht Con Éireann , like all Sports Governing Bodies (SGBs) was cognisant of the various challenges involved in driving international best practice especially within a limited resource environment. “ The new legislative power for out of competition testing enables us to police all timelines within the training regime of a greyhound to when it arrives to compete and will be a crucial tool in achieving an enhanced and robust regulatory environment . The future regulation of the industry requires the involvement of all stakeholders. This is not something Rásaíocht Con Éireann can achieve on its own, however active we may be,” she said.