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Archive for April 5th, 2011

Anti-doping and Antitrust

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(Note by Alfonso:Pablo Ibañez Colomo is once contributing to our blog, and, as usual, he provides us with his original views. This time he resorts to a recent high profile doping case to highlight the common features between anti-doping and antitrust law. By the way: cycling is a very sensitive issue for me nowadays since the brand new bike that my friends recently got me for my birthday was stolen during the weekend..)

I have always been a cycling fan (and I am now the proud owner of a proper road bike, happy to report that London is a bike-friendly city—and not only because it does not rain that much). After this introduction you will not be surprised to learn that I have been closely following the doping case involving Alberto Contador, three-time winner of the Tour de France.

For those of you who are not familiar with the case, let me give a brief introduction. Two months after last year’s Tour de France, it was made public that Alberto Contador had tested positive for clenbuterol in the race. This looked like a borderline case from the beginning (it has been reported that the case was made public only because the information was leaked to a German journalist). Apparently, the amount of clenbuterol detected was really really small, and the possibility that the cyclist had ingested contaminated beef could not be ruled out at the outset (at the very least, it did not seem to be one of these improbable excuses advanced by athletes in similar circumstances). Against this background, the Spanish Cycling Federation cleared the cyclist. This decision has recently been appealed by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) and the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) before the TAS (Tribunal Arbitral du Sport).

The more I read about this case, the more I thought about the analogies between anti-doping and antitrust in many respects. These are relatively young legal disciplines that are at the crossroads of administrative and criminal law, of private and public law and in which authorities still have a long way to go in many respects. Let me mention two aspects in which the analogy between the two fields is particularly marked:

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Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

5 April 2011 at 1:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized