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Sport braces itself as DCMS panel says doping and governance reports are coming

Press Association logoPress Association 12/01/2018 By Matt Slater, Press Association Chief Sports Reporter
Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee Damian Collins is looking forward to a productive start to 2018: Damian Collins visit © PA WIRE Damian Collins visit

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee's much-anticipated reports into doping and sports governance will be published by the end of February, it has been announced.

The doping report is scheduled for publication by the end of January, with the governance report coming in February.

The former is expected to recommend the criminalisation of doping - contrary to government policy - and more funding for anti-doping efforts. 

The latter is likely to call for a new sports ombudsman who would deal with grievances from athletes, coaches, parents and staff independently, as opposed to British sports' current in-house procedures.

The ombudsman idea is understood to be unpopular with most major national governing bodies and elite funding agency UK Sport.

Both inquiries started under the last parliament, with the "Combatting Doping in Sport" inquiry beginning after the Sunday Times published a leaked International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) database of suspicious drug tests in August 2015.

That inquiry then moved onto the recent UK Anti-Doping investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky and it has seen the likes of IAAF president Lord Coe and Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford face deeply uncomfortable questions from the panel of backbench MPs.

Its most memorable moments have centred on the 'Jiffy bag' delivered to British cycling star Sir Bradley Wiggins' doctor at a race in France in 2011. UKAD has effectively closed its investigation of the matter, saying it is unable to prove or disprove that it contained a banned substance because of missing medical reports. 

The "Sports Governance" inquiry followed on from earlier looks at FIFA and football in general, and it has investigated issues stretching from the Football Association's handling of the bullying and racism allegations made by Eni Aluko, to concerns about Paralympic sport's classification system. 

It is also possible that the committee will publish more written evidence - correspondence with the key players and statements from witnesses unable to attend hearings - in both inquiries.

In a statement, chairman Damian Collins said the committee was "looking forward to a productive start to 2018, when we'll conclude some important work on the role of sporting bodies for athletes (and) allegations around doping in sport".

As the committee monitors the entire brief of the DCMS department, it is also publishing its report on the potential effects of Brexit on the creative and tourism sectors.

Looking ahead, it will continue its "Fake News" inquiry, take evidence on the gender pay gap at the BBC and investigate why so many live music venues are struggling.

On the sports side, Collins said it wanted "to hear from people about ways in which taking part in culture and sports can have a positive impact on society" and that would be one of 2018's new inquiries.

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