A lack of education amongst local athletes on doping laws and regulations has spurred popular sports journalist Joanna Camilleri to pursue a FIFA-certified diploma in the subject in an effort to help local associations and clubs.
“I’ve been heavily involved with the topic for the past three years,” Camilleri told Lovin Malta. “What we plan to do is start working with more athletes and clubs to help educate them and get the licenses they need to be involved with UEFA competitions such as the Champions League”.
Camilleri, working with the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Malta, intends to equip athletes and sporting organisations with the knowledge that enables them to distinguish the fine line between legal and illegal substances for sporting competitions.
“It is an issue in Malta because there is a lack of education and a lack of knowledge,” she continued. “Sometimes people don’t know that some medicines can be risky – like taking a certain panadol before a doping test”.
The former athlete acknowledged that there have been cases in the past where local athletes have failed doping tests, but that these were far and few in between.
“We want to bring more prominence to the subject. Even some national athletes don’t know that certain substances aren’t good for you, even if you’re sick,” she continued.
Having obtained FIFA certification in anti-doping, Camilleri aims to help clubs and athletes reach their full potential in a clean and competitive manner.
Earlier this year, the Sports Ministry announced that it would be setting up a sporting body to oversee anti-doping, match-fixing and overall integrity in local sports.
The Authority for Integrity in Maltese Sport underwent a public consultation period which closed on 20th March. There have been no updates since.
While doping scandals haven’t been an issue as of late, match-fixing continues to plague local sports, specifically football, including a recent incident involving an Attard FC committee member who was handed a €50,000 fine along with a suspended sentence for attempting to bribe an amateur league match.
Tag someone who loves sports