The Kontinental Hockey League Medical Center on Thursday gave a progress report on its work over the previous season as part of the Clean Ice program to combat doping in sport
Over the course of the 2011/2012 season a total of 856 doping tests were conducted across the entire KHL system. In all, 15 players tested positive: 5 in the KHL, 6 in the lower league (VHL) and 4 in the youth league (YHL). This is from a total of 2833 players who took part in games of the KHL, VHL and YHL during the 2011/2012season: 716 in the KHL Championship, 776 in the VHL Championship, 1120 in the YHL Championship, and another 625 in the YHL Chevrolet competition. There were 404 players on bilateral contracts who appeared in more than one league in the system.
The KHL Vice-President for Sporting Medicine, Doctor Igor Medvedev, gave an update on the situation regarding the positive dope tests and also on the subtleties of the ongoing work in the Clean Ice program,
“At first glance the number of positive tests has risen, but on closer scrutiny we can see that the average percentage of positive tests is lower than that of the rest of the world, which is 2.0% according to data from WADA. Our statistic is 1.4% for the KHL, 2.7% for the VHL and 1.4% for the YHL, giving an overall average of 1.7%.
During the 2011/2012 KHL season a decision was taken which had no precedent in Russia: to implement a six-fold increase in the number of doping tests, that is - 856, compared with 144 in the previous season. Moreover, the budget set aside for this purpose only stretched to half of that needed for this number of tests, so the other half was financed with funds earned by the KHL.
In addition to the basic countrywide anti-doping regulations, changes were introduced to tournament regulations, and this required the significant leap of installing specially-equipped doping control areas at hockey stadia, and the clubs have been spending considerable sums to implement this.
It appears that most of the positive tests can be traced to the taking of substandard or imitation Biologically Active Supplements (BAS) which have been illegally imported into Russia and have found their way onto the open market. The players who have imbibed these supplements did so while unaware that some BAS products contain ingredients from the banned list. In some cases the banned ingredients were not displayed on the packaging; in others the banned substances were mentioned, but the player either did not notice them or he failed to seek medical advice. The problem here is one of human complacency and carelessness.
As for the Clean Ice program, KHL President Alexander Medvedev has decided that the project should be wider in its scope, both in its sharp focus on specifics, namely the fight against doping in the League’s teams, but also in reaching out more to the general public. Now it is targeted at the entire hockey world: the TV audience, the fans at the arenas, the children who play the game and all the citizens of the land. We have added a new slogan, “Life without narcotics,” and in this way the KHL, VHL and YHL can demonstrate their social responsibility.
I’ll also mention that the Clean Ice program, in its battle against doping in sport and narcotics abuse in society, is finding new partners. Already RUSADA and the Russian Hockey Federation have signed agreements with the Ministry of Sport and other state bodies. And the bulk of the KHL Medical Center’s financing will be for this very program.
The KHL is the co-founder of the Vitawin Company, which produces high-quality sporting nourishment for athletes, including members of Russia’s national teams and anyone keen on physical exercise and a healthy way of life.
From our analysis of the results we’ve received we are convinced of the necessity of strengthening the educational component in our work with hockey players and our work in raising awareness among our fellow citizens in the Clean Ice program. From next season every club will have designated staff with responsibility for anti-doping measures.
I will add that we are putting together a team of Clean Ice Commissars comprising star players from the KHL, VHL and YHL, and other well-known faces. The functions of the commissars are as follows: to lead by example by demonstrating their adherence to the principle of fair play, to periodically take part in events with young athletes, and also to take part in our medical campaigns.”