On 24 February Sunday evening I received an email from Bob Dredge, the Chair of the IOF Ethics Panel informing me about an Ethical Panel procedure related to my blog post on IOF Anti-Doping activity questions published on 25 September 2018.
For the avoidance of misunderstanding, it should be clearly stated that the subject of the Ethics Panel procedure was not the IOF’s Anti-Doping activity. Nor were there any issues raised around the facts and data mentioned in the blog post. The Ethics Panel is considering if any breach of the IOFs Code of Ethics has resulted from certain not specified comments.
Before reading on I would like to encourage you to read the original post as linked above. If you do not have time for the 1350 or so words and 5 charts, you may want to know that essence of the post is as follows: There appeared to be a drop in IOF AD testing in 2018 compared to previous years. This was shown for MTBO, but anecdotal evidence from elite runners suggested a similar trend in Foot-O. Yet, there was more money collected for the IOF AD fund from MTBO organisers in addition to the athletes’ licence fee collected. As a result, the implied cost of the MTBO AD tests skyrocketed over the past 3 years as shown on the chart below. This has raised unavoidable questions whether AD tests got so much more expensive, whether part of the AD fund was spent on other purposes by the IOF than AD testing, and whether there will be member federations who would ask questions about this.
Nobody should take an IOF Ethics Panel procedure lightly. After all, the Ethics Panel may impose sanctions for violations of the IOF Code of Ethics that include exclusion for life from competitions and/or IOF activities, an appropriate fine, or removal of any previously obtained honours, or any other appropriate sanction that the Hearing Panel decides (with no stated limit to what that could be).
This may sound quite scary for many. After all, nobody enjoys being the subject of a legal procedure. Yet, you may become curious about the whole experience, if you are a bit like Desperaux the brave little mouse, who failed to learn in school that there are so many wonderful things in life to be afraid of, if you just learn how scary they are. Add to this that the flavour of our times is to share our experiences on social media for the edification of others, and my belief that transparency is critically important to amateur sports organisations like the IOF. All this made me decide to share this experience on this blog.
Below you can read the original letter received from the Chair of the IOF Ethics Panel, some of the key questions related to his email that made me scratch my head, and my reply to the letter of the Chair.