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Controversy in Sport Management Essay

Controversy in Sport Management

            This paper analyzes and evaluates a current controversy in Sport Management, presents reasons why this controversy is such an important issue, and evaluates the ramifications of the controversy in order to determine what effect it could have in the future.

            Controversy in sport management is not a new thing. Who could forget the Mike Tyson / Evander Holyfield ear biting incident, and the shock felt around the world when South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje was implicated in match fixing scandals?  And perhaps one of the biggest scandals this year has been that of cyclist Floyd Landis, who had his Tour de France title stripped from him when he tested positive for steroids.

Cycling seems to be a sport tainted with drug use lately, and the controversy does not limit itself to the sports fields. It is present in sport management too.  Take for example the Liberty Sugueros manager, Manolo Saiz, who together with the controversial sports medic Eufemanio Fuentes, was held in a police station in Madrid after being arrested this year, along with another doctor, an official from a second team and a mountain bike professional.  Four flats in the Spanish capital were raided there

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and in Saragossa as part of the operation – aimed at rooting out illicit doping in sports. According to the Spanish papers, 1000 doses of anabolic steroids and hormones and 100 drip-bags of artificially manipulated blood were found. The cops think it’s part of a ring. Liberty Seguros officials denied that there was any cause for concern. “We’re staying calm because there is no room for any kind of doubt,” said the team director, Pablo Anton on The Independent Online. (Extreme 365, 2006)

It’s not only the Spanish cycling bosses who have been involved in this type of thing lately. Basso was suspended from the 2006 Tour de France on the eve of the race for allegations stemming from the Operation Puerto doping investigation in Spain. But the Italian Cycling Federation affirmed the Italian Olympic Committee’s (CONI) recommendation to drop doping charges against Ivan Basso on Friday. Basso, who split amicably with his CSC team after CONI suggested the hearings against him be dropped, is still without a team, but has been linked to Barloworld and Discovery. Though the 2004 Tour de France runner-up is now officially allowed to race by his home cycling federation, the International Cycling Union have suggested that they could challenge the Italian federation’s decision if they were not satisfied with its conclusions. Discovery Channel boss Johan Bruyneel told Eurosport on Thursday that Basso’s fate would ultimately rest with the UCI. (Eurosport, 2006). Although the Italian Cycling Federation’s loyalty to Basso is touching, this seems to be, in a way, condoning his behavior.  The question must be asked, what sort of a message is it sending out to the cycling fraternity?  That doping is alright?  That someone else will take responsibility? After all, Basso was originally in trouble when he and fellow pre race favorite Jan Ullrich were out of the Tour de France after being named in a doping probe.  Ullrich, team-mate Oscar Sevilla and manager Rudy Pevenage were all been suspended by the T-Mobile team.  Ullrich said he was “shocked” as he and Basso both denied any wrong-doing.  This year’s Tour de France was certainly fraught with controversy – the Astana-Wurth team also withdrew after five riders were named in the Spanish probe. (BBC News, 2006)

Even seven time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, who until recently was known as the golden boy of cycling, has not gotten by scot free without drug usage being lined to his name   Lance Armstrong has been accused of using a banned substance while racing the Tour de France. From a security perspective, this isn’t very interesting. Blood and urine tests are used to detect banned substances all the time. But what is interesting is that the urine sample was from 1999, and the test was done in 2005. Back in 1999, there was no test for the drug EPO. Now there is. Someone took an old urine sample — who knew that they stored old urine samples? — and ran the new test. (Schneier, 2005)

There is no doubt that both managers and cyclists are making great use out of steroids.  How do these drugs get into the system, and what can be done about them once they are there?  According to Tom Fordyce of BBC Sport, the process begins in the laboratory, news of the new product spreads via mediums such as change room rumors, and these are easily obtainable via the internet (Fordyce, 2006)

There are of course measures being taken against this sort of thing.  According to Guardian Unlimited, The World Anti-Doping Agency, under Dick Pound, is doing its best to win the anti doping war, and there are those who feel that the Floyd Landis affair was the peak of the problem. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency needs to get consistency around the world. It is a huge challenge and it is one of our frustrations in the UK that we have such high-caliber doping control officers but our athletes often say that, when they compete abroad, there are holes in the application of the system by other DCOs. Wada has begun to seek consistency by putting regional structures in place where there are not national structures. They also have an agreement with the Commonwealth Secretariat to cover part of Africa. (Guardian Unlimited, 2006)

In conclusion, what kind of ramifications could this have in the future? For one thing, children look up to sports stars as heroes and follow their example. Sport is by nature and by history a pastime and profession of people high in moral fiber. This should be upheld by both sportspeople and sports managers. In a world populated by people with ever degenerating moral fiber, heroes of good moral values are all the more important. It is the responsibility of sports stars and the bosses in high places to set a good example, and using drugs is not setting a good example.


BBC News, 2006, retrieved 6 Nov 2006 from the website http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/cycling/5132320.stm

Extreme 365, 2006, retrieved 6 Nov 2006 from the website http://www.extremesports365.com/news/story_87914.shtml

Eurosport, 2006, retrieved 6 Nov 2006 from the website http://www.eurosport.com/cycling/pro-tour/2005-2006/sport_sto995300.shtml

Fordyce, Tom, 2006, retrieved 6 Nov 2006 from the website http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/front_page/3101363.stm

Guardian Unlimited, 2006, retrieved 6 Nov 2006 from the website http://sport.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1835264,00.html

Schneier, S (2005), retrieved 6 Nov 2006 from the website http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/09/lance_armstrong.html

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