The U.K.’s anti-doping body is seeking additional funding after cuts to its budget following the London Olympics.
Annual funding for U.K. Anti-Doping from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport will drop 12 percent to 5.729 million pounds ($8.5 million) in 2014-15. UKAD received 6.5 million pounds in 2012-2013 to help the London 2012 organizing committee deliver the biggest drug-testing program in the history of the games, with more than 5,000 samples.
“We’re looking at ways in which we can generate money,” Andy Parkinson, UKAD’s chief executive officer, said in an interview yesterday in London. “We get good support from the government, but we’re in a situation where we aren’t immune to the current economic climate and we’re taxpayer funded. We need to be a little bit more creative.”
The cuts, which have forced UKAD to make changes in the way it operates including moving to a smaller office, haven’t impacted its “front-line delivery” of catching cheats, Parkinson said.
Expertise gained during the London games is an advantage when trying to tap alternative funds, Parkinson added. He said he’s been talking to the International Olympic Committee and “a number of other people” and told them that UKAD must charge for providing a service “as a tax-payer funded organization.”
UKAD, which was founded in 2009, receives money from national federations and some professional sports for a system that tracks testing, Parkinson said. Seeking new funds through corporate and social responsibility programs is “far more preferable” than traditional company sponsorships, he added.
‘Conflict of Interest’
“The opportunities available for sponsorships are limited because you start getting into a conflict of interest position,” Parkinson said at the Tackling Doping in Sport conference in London. “We’re a regulator essentially. What I don’t want is for a funder to start influencing the decisions of how we operate.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency, whose budget has been frozen in the past two years, called for more funding at national level in the fight against drug cheats.
“The national anti-doping organizations are at the coal face,” Rob Koehler, director of education and program development at WADA, said at the London conference. “More money needs to be injected as a global effort.”
WADA was founded in 1999 as an international independent agency. Its funding, which comes from governments and the IOC, has been $28 million for the past two years.
“The more money you have, the more things you can do,” Koehler said. “But we’ve been extremely efficient in using the resources that we have. The reality is that governments worldwide are cutting costs.”