The World Olympians Association (WOA) chief executive has advocated fitting athletes with microchips as the next step in the fight against doping. “We’re prepared to chip our dogs and it doesn’t seem to harm them, so why aren’t we prepared to chip ourselves?” said Mike Miller, who said he was “just throwing the idea out there”.
The current Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (Adams) dictates that athletes must each day declare where they will be for a one-hour window between 5am and 11pm, a period during which drug testers may turn up without warning.
The Guardian reports that while speaking to anti-doping leaders at a Westminster forum on integrity in sport, Miller said: “The problem with the current anti-doping system is that all it says is that at a precise moment in time there are no banned substances, but we need a system which says you are illegal substance-free at all times and if there are changes in markers they will be detected.”
According to Miller, that system could be delivered by implanting microchips in athletes. He argues that this would not be an invasion of privacy as no-one is being compelled to compete.
“In order to stop doping we need to chip our athletes where the latest technology is there. Some people say it’s an invasion of privacy, well, sport is a club and people don’t have to join the club if they don’t want to, if they can’t follow the rules.
“Microchips get over the issue of whether the technology can be manipulated because they have no control over the device.”
The WOA represents and supports Olympians throughout the world by working with the 148 national associations and also works to spread ‘the spirit of Olympism’. Miller said that he was not speaking on behalf of the organisation.
Nicole Sapstead, the UK Anti-Doping chief executive, commented: “We welcome verified developments in technology which could assist the fight against doping. However, can we ever be sure that this type of thing could never be tampered with or even accurately monitor all substances and methods on the prohibited list?
“There is a balance to be struck between a right to privacy versus demonstrating that you are clean. We would actively encourage more research in whether there are technologies in development that can assist anti-doping organisations in their endeavours.”