The fight against doping in sport necessitates decisive, coordinated action by public authorities and the world of sport. The Vienna European Council of December 1998 in Vienna to intensify the fight against the scourge of doping emphasized the need for mobilization at European level.
The European Parliament, in a resolution adopted on 17.12.1998, supported the proposal to create a World Anti-Doping Agency and expressed the hope that the Commission would play a part in the Agency. Finally, the EU Sports Ministers have repeatedly expressed their desire for a common position of the 15 Member States on this proposal, through the involvement of the Commission. The creation of a World Anti-Doping Agency constitutes an initial response at world level to the proliferation of doping scandals which have rocked the sporting world over the past two years. The Agency will need to establish common procedures and criteria in order to eliminate the wide differences that exist with regard to banned substances, testing methods and penalties, which at present are defined by a multitude of different players (the IOC, sports federations, public authorities).
In 1999, the European Group on Ethics proposed a European code of conduct. The code would be adopted by all interested individuals and organizations, including sportsmen and sportswomen, sporting associations, the European Union and its member states, organizations representing the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry, bodies representing young people and families, and television stations. It also called for the preparation of a code of good conduct for sports medicine, in order to prevent it from being diverted from its goal, and the distinction between medicines and substances used for doping from being easily crossed.
Anti-doping checks have to be carried out independently of the sports federations.
Doping contravenes the ethics of both sport and medical science. Doping consists in the administration of substances belonging to prohibited classes of pharmacological agents, and/or the use of various prohibited methods. The anti-doping campaign is founded on three basic principles: protection of the health of athletes, respect for medical and sports ethics, and ensuring an equal chance for everyone during competition.
The desire to win at all costs drives some to turn to illegal and totally unfair means in order to ensure that the athletes in their charge gain an advantage over their rivals. As means of detection have improved, they now attempt to cheat scientifically by artificially inducing natural physiological reactions, or by attempting with various tricks to hide the evidence of these manipulations. Such behaviour makes a mockery of the very essence of sport, and of the soul of what our predecessors, like ourselves, consider to be sacrosanct ideals: the inner desire to surpass one's own limits, the social need to compete with others, to find one's identity within society and to develop at all levels.