The consumption of illegal drugs in sport has hit the headlines recently and shows little sign of abating.
The alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport is by no means a new topic. Currently, there are allegations of Tour de France winner Chris Froome having allegedly consumed illegal substances. In long distance running, both Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe have been put under the spotlight for the same reason.
There have been many cases of proven drug use in sport; perhaps the most high profile of all being Lance Armstrong in cycling, on a par with Canada's Ben Johnson being banned from all athletics for his consumption of the banned steroid stanozolol, at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
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In football, Adrian Mutu and Mark Bosnich were both severely disciplined (in separate incidents) by their club Chelsea for consuming an illegal and recreational drug whilst under contract. In 2003, Rio Ferdinand, then of Manchester United, was banned for eight months for failing to attend a drugs test.
The subject on the use of illegal drugs in sport has continued to be controversial for one simple reason; sport is designed to test the best against the rest, any achievement is a result of honest effort, ethical intention and genuine hard work. Any interference or negativity is seriously rejected.
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The latest controversy involves the case of Hull City player Jake Livermore, who was found guilty of using cocaine yet faced no punishment from the FA, due to the unique circumstances
This decision raises a pertinent question, should all factors be considered when deciding whether or not to punish a sports person found to have consumed banned substances?
Many will argue that the zero-tolerance policy on drugs in sport needs to be solidified and enforced in every case, yet as Livermore’s case highlights, it is evident that the hard line on illegal substances must be reviewed thought out and where applicable, reapplied. Each case surely needs to be discussed separately.
So argue drug cheats should be dealt with accordingly, but for long term progress, the policy needs to be updated.
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