We note the concerns raised by the IAAF with regard to the analyses we undertook of the data. We have rebutted each and every one of their so-called ‘serious reservations’. The pre-2009 data is reliable, in fact by their own admission the IAAF has relied on those data to extend sanctions against athletes. We followed the same procedure as IAAF expert panelists when reviewing ABP profiles, classifying results as ‘likely doping’ when we were able to confidently exclude all other potential causes or instead ‘suspicious’ when there was genuine evidence of blood manipulation however further investigation such as target testing would have been required. And for the avoidance of doubt, we based our judgments on the entire blood test profile for the athlete not just on individual scores. We stand by the evaluations we submitted to Sunday Times and ARD/WDR.
General response to the IAAF media release
A detailed response is included as an addendum, but we make the following general observations.
‘It is unscientific to compare data collected prior to 2009’
- Last December, the IAAF stated that: “When they are available, the IAAF has used the blood values prior to 2009 as “secondary evidence” in support of an increased sanction in addition to the post-2009 profile to establish the athlete’s long history of doping”.
- In our opinion, if the pre-2009 data are considered sufficiently reliable to extend a sanction, then they are also sufficiently reliable to undertake our analyses.
‘The scientists had no authority to comment because of their lack of knowledge of the IAAF programme…it was pure guesswork’
- Since 2011 Robin Parisotto has been retained by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to review blood profiles of their elite track and field athletes. Consequently, he is currently providing expert opinion to multiple disciplinary proceedings involving IAAF athletes.
- Michael Ashenden was a member of the WADA Passport Committee that devised targeting strategies for international federations such as the IAAF to adopt.
- Michael Ashenden and Robin Parisotto were both founding members of the UCI’s Expert Panel, they have each provided expert testimony to disciplinary cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and have both advised anti-doping organisations on how to undertake target testing of athletes suspected of blood doping.
Professor Giuseppe d’Onofrio’s statement: ‘In particular, one should refrain from making any authoritative conclusion on individual cases on the basis of a one-off value, let alone when this value has been collected before the formal introduction of the ABP in 2009’
- Many years before the standardisations he referred to were implemented, Prof d’Onofrio interpreted ‘raw data’ (in particular, medical documents seized during raids on the Juventus club offices in 1998) and felt sufficiently comfortable interpreting those ‘raw data’ to reach a conclusion that he was “practically certain” they had taken EPO.
- When an abnormal result was present, the entire profile for the athlete was extracted from the data base and evaluated in its entirety;
- We consider that the comparatively conservative conclusion we reached of ‘likely doping’ was warranted, given that the data we interpreted had been collected under the stringent IAAF Blood Testing Protocol.
We note that when the IAAF analysed the same raw data reported on by Sunday Times and ARD/WDR, they felt the data were sufficiently reliable for them to publish their conclusion that increased blood values “most probably implicated a doping behaviour” (see Clinical Chemistry Vol 57 no. 5 p765). We draw no distinction between the terminology used by IAAF and ourselves.
Finally, we note the IAAF’s confirmation that the database is “not a secret or hidden document in any way” and that the IAAF welcomes the opportunity to present to the Independent Commission. We therefore call on the IAAF to give a public undertaking that it will immediately share the entire database with Dick Pound’s independent review.