Many sports are currently mired in drug scandals, with track & field currently one of the leading offenders.
Although large-scale reforms are required to address the cascade of problems associated with state-sponsored doping, there is plenty of work that can be done to address the culture of the sport at the grass-roots level.
It is arguably more important than ever that clean athletes demand transparency and trust from the products and supplements they are using. The risk versus reward equation does not exist in this scenario; there is nothing to be gained from products that are not independently tested by approved organisations.
As a company committed to consistent independent testing of our products, SOS spoke to the newly formed Clean Sport Collective about their plans for improving the culture of clean sport.
The Australian Anti-doping authority recently released data showing that 1 in 5 commonly available supplements contained one or more supplements banned in sport. At the same time, WADA states that athletes are strictly liable for any prohibited substances. Many companies have taken the step themselves to be Informed Sport & Informed Choice certified in order to protect athletes. How will a CSC certification compare to this type of regulation?
Cross contamination is an issue both athletes and sports nutrition brands have a responsibility to manage. Athletes are liable for what they put in their bodies. They need to both educate themselves on the substances that are banned and not consume supplements, sports nutrition products that have not been verified as clean. Brands, like SOS has demonstrated, are a solution through getting their products third party testing to ensure the athletes the will not be inadvertently consuming a banned substance through cross contamination. The Clean Sport Certification program we are building for brands will include a category for nutrition, sports nutrition brands. Achieving and maintaining a 3rd party verification from Informed-Choice will be part of the requirements for certification.
Does CSC intend on assuming a watchdog role by testing products independently, or rather only test products when approached by companies seeking certification?
The CSC will not administer the testing of any products. We encourage all sports nutrition brands to have their products 3rd party tested. There are multiple organizations that offer the service and as SOS we recommend Informed-Choice.
What is a CSC Technical Advisor?
The Technical Advisor will be the individual handling the Clean Sport Certification process with brands, events and athletes. This person will be the main point of contact throughout the process. This program is in the early stages of being built and currently we are offering the inquiry form to allow organizations and athletes to express their interest.
What steps are being taken by CSC to ensure that products they certify do not cause an athlete to record a positive test?
Related to sports nutrition brands the Clean Sports Certification program will work alongside Informed-Choice to approve this part of the certification. These type of brands will be required to achieve and maintain this 3rd party verification. Informed-Choice products are tested at LGC, a world renowned sports doping control and research laboratory, with over 50 years of expertise in anti-doping in sport. LGC has been testing for prohibited substances in sport since 2002 and has tested tens of thousands of product/ingredient samples during that time. LGC is currently testing over 5,000 samples per year for over 180 nutrition companies worldwide.
CSC has stated that it wants companies to refuse to work with known dopers. How does this fit with the organisations restorative mission?
To become a brand member of the CSC brands do have to commit they they will not be sponsoring athletes that have previously tested positive. We dot not believe athletes that have previously tested positive should be able to compete alongside athletes that have not. However, we do believe in redemption and believe athletes that have not chosen to compete fairly in sport have the ability to create positive change for the clean sport movement. Many of these athletes are truly apologetic for their actions that negatively affected sport and deserve to be forgiven. Through the Restoration portion we will work alongside 3rd parties to help these athletes move their lives forward and be part of the education on why athletes should not chose to use illegal performance enhancing drugs.
It appears for obvious reasons that many founding members and brands are either clients of ModCraft or associated with the company. As more competing companies register to be certified, what steps will CSC take to remain impartial in regards to endorsing the products it has certified?
Everyone involved with the Clean Sport Collective is very passionate about being part of the solution and accelerating the conversations for and building the clean sport movement. All of the founding members know each other personally and we encourage others who would like to be involved to please reach out. We’ve already had multiple individuals and organizations express their interest and some are already working with us. Similar to the pioneers in the natural foods movement we feel this is the beginning of creating a powerful collective voice that will achieve meaningful, enduring positive change for clean sport. The more individuals, brands and events involved the more powerful we will become together.
In regards to the Clean Sport Certification program the individual responsible for the evaluation, the Technical Advisor, will be an outside party brought in with this specific experience. There will be full disclosure of what will be evaluated and this information will be public. At this point no brands, events or athletes have been or are in the process of being certified. This program is in the early stages of being built and currently we are offering the inquiry form to allow organizations and athletes to express their interest.
What steps will CSC take in regards to industry advocacy, and what are the key outcomes the organisation is seeking to achieve in this regard?
Industry advocacy is a very critical piece of the clean sport movement. We will work with industry through awareness, education and evaluation. We seek for all sports related brands to publicly commit to clean sport by pledging they will not sponsor athletes that have tested positive. And, a primary outcome is for all of the brands in this space to have communication surrounding clean sport as part of their annual marketing initiatives. Through the Clean Sport Certification program our goal is to build an evaluation platform for those brands and events looking to have their clean sport efforts externally measured while continually improving their positive impact for clean sport.
Who are the partners that CSC donations go to?
The partners are third parties and programs that will be funded for specific projects related to our 4 Lanes of Positive Change, Awareness, Drug Testing, Industry Advocacy and Restoration. For example, we will be offering drug testing scholarships to events. We would pay a third party drug testing facility to facilitate it or give the event the funds to pay them. And, partners are not brands. We will be working with member brands to raise donations in order to fund the partners.