Should athletes be microchipped?
World Olympians Association (WOA) chief Mike Miller is calling for radical measures to stop doping in sport – including fitting athletes with microchips.
Speaking at a Westminster forum on integrity in sport, Miller claimed the controversial chips could be used to recognise banned substances and help keep sports clean.
Quoted by The Guardian, he said: “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?”
Miller – who insisted he was not speaking on behalf of the WOA – claims that the technology is almost ready to begin testing.
“In order to stop doping we need to chip our athletes where the latest technology is there,” he continued. “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.
“Microchips get over the issue of whether the technology can be manipulated because they have no control over the device.
“The problem with the current anti-doping system is that all it says is that at a precise moment in time there are no banned substances, but we need a system which says you are illegal substance-free at all times and if there are changes in markers they will be detected.
“I’m just throwing the idea out there. I’m gauging reaction from people but we do need to think of new ways to protect clean sport. I’m no Steve Jobs but we need to spend the money and use the latest technology.”
Meanwhile, Nicole Sapstead, the chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, told The Daily Telegraph that while she welcomes “verified developments in technology, which could assist the fight against doping”, there is a risk of microchips being tampered with, or not producing accurate results.
Sapstead said: “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.”