British Cycling has issued a response to Digital, Culture Media and Sport Select Committee’s recent report in combatting doping in sport.
Julie Harrington, British Cycling CEO, stated: “British Cycling welcomes the publication of the report into combatting doping in sport, issued today by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
"We wish to thank the chair, Damian Collins MP, and the wider committee for the diligence and resolve they have shown in investigating such an important matter as it is paramount that we can prove that we can and we do win in the right way.
“This enquiry had a catalytic effect on our organisation. As the sport’s national governing body, we need to be beyond reproach when it comes to both our competence and conduct. Since I took on the role of chief executive in May last year, we have made significant changes across our organisation including a governance overhaul; new leadership on the executive team; reviewed areas that were found to be weak; and implemented new procedures to ensure that we operate to the highest standards and within world leading guidelines.
She continued: "We have made significant changes to the provision of medical services to the Great Britain Cycling Team with all of the recommendations of a review commissioned in April 2017 now being implemented. These reforms aim to ensure that the failures identified in the committee’s enquiry will never happen again.
"We remain committed to ensuring that our organisation can stand up to the highest levels of public and professional scrutiny. This is work that can never be declared finished – it will require constant vigilance and review, and with this in mind we expect to be in the position to announce further strategic and structural changes in the coming months.
“The committee’s investigation focused on a time when the relationship between British Cycling and Team Sky operated with blurred boundaries between the two organisations. Today there are clear boundaries and distinctions between us: no one is simultaneously employed by British Cycling and Team Sky; and we each have our own practices in place for managing athlete records.
"Never again will we allow a situation to develop whereby our independence as the national governing body is called into question because of our relationship with a professional team.
“We welcome the Committee’s recommendations for strengthened powers for UK Anti-Doping. Our recent investigations have shown that because it does not have the power to compel cooperation, UKAD’s ability to operate across sport is compromised. We look forward to supporting our colleagues at UKAD in their work to examine what further powers are required in the fight against doping.
“In relation to the recommendation of the referral of Dr Richard Freeman to the GMC for investigation, we can confirm that British Cycling did so last year, as a consequence of our own investigations. At this stage, we cannot comment further on this matter in order to avoid compromising the GMC’s work.
“We share the committee’s concerns with regard to the use of glucocorticoids and Tramadol. Our position is clear: medical treatment of any kind should only be used to address clinical need and never to enhance performance. We remain committed to working with the anti-doping agencies and the Union Cycliste Internationale to develop policy and regulations to support this principle.
“The committee is right that the use of therapeutic use exemptions should be subject to scrutiny and constant review and we welcome the work of the UCI, which has introduced improved governance of the administration of TUEs and note that, in the most recently published figures, the number of TUEs issued worldwide by the UCI totalled 16 in 2016.
“In summary, this report is important, thorough and timely. Reviewing the significant breadth of the Committee’s investigations in cycling and beyond is a reminder that all of us across sport are required to work together to fulfil our duty to ensure competition is fair.
“We remain committed to keeping the Committee updated on our work and sharing best practice for the wider good of sport.”
New British Cycling chair Frank Slevin added: “The British Cycling I joined recently is a very different organisation to the one exposed from the outset of the Committee’s enquiries in 2016 as being in need of a root and branch overhaul.
"We are intent on building on the momentum that has been generated over the past year to ensure that we are a world class governing body of which we can all be proud. Our riders, members, colleagues and the public deserve nothing less.
“With the strong working relationship we have developed with UK Anti-Doping we are now looking forward to taking the next step by becoming the first national governing body to partner with UKAD and build on the recommendations in the Tailored Review of UK Anti-Doping published in January 2018.
“Together, we will explore several key areas – from powers and deterrents, to education of competitors, ethics and the testing regime, through to the appropriate use of TUEs, ‘timed out’ offences, medical governance and new forms of performance enhancement – which are influencing and shaping the fight against doping in modern sport.
"This will require significant commitment by British Cycling and it is one we are happy to make so that, with our colleagues at UKAD, we can better anticipate both the challenges of the future and also avoid a repeat of the issues that have been evident in recent investigations.
"I look forward to taking this work forward as just one example of the seriousness with which we take our responsibilities to ensure that our sport is held to the highest levels of scrutiny and lives up to the expectations of all those who love sport.”