Microchips are used to track lost pets, so why can’t they be used to mitigate doping in professional sports?
That’s the question Mike Miller, the chief executive of the World Olympians Association, is asking.
“We chip our dogs,” Miller said during a panel at Westminster Media Forum that was reported by Asharq Al-Awsat. “We’re prepared to do that and it doesn’t seem to harm them. So, why aren’t we prepared to chip ourselves?”
Miller suggested that microchips could be used to track athletes' movements and detect any performance-enhancing drugs in their systems.
Miller also called for those who are found guilty of using PEDs to be banned from their sport for life, saying, “It’s a club, and people don’t have to join the club if they don’t want to follow the rules.”
Nicole Sapstead, the chief executive for UK Anti-doping, says there’s a balance that needs to be reached between privacy and ensuring a level playing field.
“We welcome verified developments in technology which could assist the fight against doping,” she said. “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?”
Sapstead said that there are a range of considerations to take into account when it comes to athletes who use PEDs. She said that in many cases, those athletes who are using banned substances are often in high-stress situations, and in many cases are victims of bullying or domestic abuse.
“We should be alive to that risk, especially when we are talking about very young or very vulnerable athletes or athletes at the twilight of their career,” Sapstead said. “Sometimes, what appears at first to be an anti-doping case, upon further investigation actually turns out to be an issue of athlete welfare."
Sapstead said the UKAD has referred 17 cases to the appropriate authorities in the past 12 months because of clear welfare issues.