By Nick Butler at Fleetbank House in London

Nicole Sapstead (left) spoke about a wide range of issues connected to anti doping measures in Britain this morning ©ITGNicole Sapstead, interim chief executive in waiting at UK Anti Doping (UKAD), has claimed athletes should not be criminalised for taking drugs. 

It follows a proposed German law suggesting jail terms of up to three years for professional athletes found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Sir Craig Reedie told insidethegames that he has strong reservations about the proposed law and is "completely opposed to the criminalisation of athletes".

"I really don't think there is an appetite to illegalise doping," said Sapstead, speaking here today alongside outgoing chief executive Andy Parkinson.

"We have sufficient mechanisms in place to get us to the same point, and have been incredibly successful.

"I don't think there is a need for dawn raids and smashing down doors."

The UKAD view is similar to the reservations expressed last month by Britain's WADA President Sir Craig Reedie ©Getty ImagesThe UKAD view is similar to the reservations expressed last month by Britain's WADA President Sir Craig Reedie ©Getty Images

The worst aspects of doping cultures, such as selling and trafficking, are already illegal,Sapstead pointed out.

She claimed there would be a difficulties involved in making something illegal for elite athletes which would still be permitted for everyone else.

Sapstead claimed UKAD is one of the world's leading national anti-doping organisations, but they must ensure complacency does not set in, particularly ahead of the new World Anti Doping Code coming into operation on January 1. 

The new Code, which includes such provisions as increasing mandatory doping bans from two to four years and introducing stronger punishments for an athlete's accomplices, such as coaches and teammates, will present additional challenges to enforce, it was added.

This could involve working with legal bodies including the Court of Arbitration for Sport, because the greater punishments will lead to more appeals, particularly over the interpretation of whether an athlete has doped "intentionally".

"Andy leaves us in great shape but we can't rest on our laurels," said Sapstead.

"Athletes who dope don't go on holiday, so we have to enhance what we are already doing well in order to stay ahead."

"It's time for National Governing Bodies to step up in educating athletes.

"In the past, the sports' natural reaction has been to look to us to take action, but they cannot turn a blind eye."

Former Team Sky cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is the most high profile British athlete currently serving a doping suspension ©AFP/Getty ImagesFormer Team Sky cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is the most high profile British athlete currently serving a doping suspension ©AFP/Getty Images

There have been 21 prosecutions for doping in Britain in 2014, of which 10 were "non-analytical" cases, it was revealed. 

Cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke was handed a two year ban for an adverse biological passport reading, while a number of other athletes from sports including rugby, boxing and wrestling are also currently suspended.

Two Welsh athletes, 400 metres hurdler Rhys Williams and 800m runner Gareth Warburton also failed tests shortly before the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with each set to go before UKAD in a hearing later this month.

But Parkinson, who is departing to become chief executive of British Rowing, was keen to point out the success that has been enjoyed since he became the first person to hold the chief executive role in 2009.

He cited Government support, full independence and effective information sharing between UKAD and other groups as key reason for this success.

He claimed a good example of positive change is how athletes used to complain about being woken at 6am by drugs inspectors, but now post enthusiastic messages about these tests on social media. 

"I don't think British sport is necessarily cleaner but it is more organised and unified across the sporting landscape," he said.

"There will always be people who take shortcuts, and the availability is there.

"But we have to instill in young athletes a good culture and that you can win clean."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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November 2014:
Exclusive: WADA pledges to "work closely" with stakeholders on implementation of new anti-doping code
November 2014: UK Anti-Doping appoints Sapstead as interim chief executive to replace Parkinson
November 2014: British Rowing announce UK Anti-Doping boss as new chief executive
November 2014: Exclusive: WADA chief voices reservations about proposed new German law
November 2014: Germany set to make sports doping a criminal offence