Q&A with Global Sports Advocates Paul J. GreeneJune 05, 2023
A Question & Answer interview with Founding Partner, Global Sports Advocates Paul J. Greene a sport lawyer focusing on doping in sport since the early 2000.
Where do you work and what do you do there?
I work out of my office based in Portland, Maine representing athletes who get involved in anti-doping matters.
How did you end up working in the field of anti-doping?
I was fascinated by the World Anti-Doping Code and the burgeoning world of sports law in the early 2000s when it was developing and I was a young lawyer. I began represented athletes in anti-doping matters and now three Code versions and nearly 15 years later, I am still representing athletes in such matters.
What have happened in the field of Anti-Doping since you started?
The field has matured and developed tremendously since I first started to represent athletes.
In what way?
When I first started practicing, the CAS heard less than 200 doping appeals per year, now the CAS hears probably more than 5 times that per year now. The first anti-doping Code was fairly rudimentary compared to the current 4th version. And there are far more robust testing measures in place (including the implementation of a whereabouts system which began about a decade ago) along with the biological and steroid passports.
What is the biggest change since you started working in this field?
The pendulum has swung from trying to catch up with the cheaters to our present situation where innocent people who come in contact with a banned substance at low levels by way of environmental contamination are being unfairly (and unnecessarily) being caught up in the anti-doping web.
In which direction do you want to see Anti-Doping go in the future?
I would like to see anti-doping continue to take a sensible and equitable approach to cases involving low levels positives stemming from environmental contamination. The recently implemented thresholds are a good start, but more needs to be done. Also, I would like to see substances of abuse removed from the banned list so that athletes are no longer sanctioned for taking marijuana, cocaine and other substances of abuse.
Who is winning the war on doping? And why? Are the doping hunters far behind the dopers?
No, the doping hunters can now detect at parts per trillion and can test athletes 24 hours a day. This is no longer the issue provided the testing system is not corrupt (like it was with the IWF for example)
Have you ever been disappointed by the harshness or the softness of a sanction for doping? If yes, in which case and why?
I have been disappointed by the harshness of sanctions for doping many times. I believe for one, first time whereabouts cases should carry a sanction of 0-6 months. These are cases where athletes are not even testing positive for a banned substance.
Do you feel enough is being done to protect clean athletes?
Yes, in most cases. But sometimes clean athletes are being unfairly sanctioned for low level contamination.