Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CFL Cuts Ties with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport over Drug Policy Row

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CFL Cuts Ties with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport over Drug Policy Row

Article excerpt

CFL cuts ties with CCES over drug policy row

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The CFL has cut ties with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport in a dispute over the league's drug policy.

A CFL spokesman confirmed the move in an email to The Canadian Press on Friday, which came after the head of the only laboratory in Canada sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency slammed the league earlier this week. The CCES also confirmed the decision in a release on Friday evening.

Christiane Ayotte said that her lab would not test CFL samples moving forward because of the league's refusal to suspend first-time offenders or uphold drug bans handed down in university.

The CFL spokesman said Friday that the league is "actively pursuing new partners to do our testing" and that "we remain committed to the health and safety of our players and the integrity of our game," before adding: "We remain open to evolving our policy in a way that works for the CFL in partnership with the CFLPA."

After this week's developments, however, it won't involve testing overseen by the CCES.

In response to Ayotte's criticism, WADA said in a statement Wednesday that the CFL's drug policy has "room for improvement" and that it would welcome an "open dialogue with the league." The league said at the time no meetings are planned.

CFL president and chief operating officer Michael Copeland said Wednesday the league is proud of its drug policy, pointing to its focus on education, rather than suspension, following an initial positive test.

"Everybody gravitates to thinking there's only one solution," he said in a phone interview. "I think we're really forward-thinking in the development of our policy and we're really happy with the results. …

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