Ukad comes out against proposal for microchips to be implanted into athletes

Microchips would enable round-the-clock monitoring of athletes

Ed Malyon
Wednesday 11 October 2017 18:33 BST
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UK Anti-Doping boss Nicole Sapstead has come out against the proposal
UK Anti-Doping boss Nicole Sapstead has come out against the proposal (Getty)

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UK Anti-Doping boss Nicole Sapstead has come out against the proposal for microchips to be implanted in athletes to make sure they are not cheating.

Ex-World Rugby chief executive Mike Miller, who now heads the World Olympians Association, promoted the idea as the modern – and only - way to ensure that athletes are clean going forward.

Miller said: "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."

The former Channel 4 and BBC sports executive suggested that embedded microchips would enable anti-doping agencies to monitor athletes at all times and not just in the narrow windows of detection provided by traditional testing regimes.

While Miller was keen to clarify that he was offering a personal opinion and not WOA policy, he also added that there was a hypocrisy to the reluctance to embrace technology for the greater good: "Some people say we shouldn't do this to people.

"Well, we're a nation of dog lovers, we're prepared to chip our dogs and it doesn't seem to harm them, so why aren't we prepared to chip ourselves?"

In a statement, Sapstead said: "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."

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