PRESS RELEAS.On the 19th of December 2011, inside the packed ceremonial hall of the Athens Bar Association, the book of Dr. of Law Eleni G. Mantratzi, titled “Doping: Legislative-Political Approach, Regulatory Foundation and Counter-crime Consideration”, published by herself, was presented as part of the event “Fair Play vs. Doping” with great success, under the coordination of Mr. Nikos Ago, journalist and foreign press correspondent.
All presenters praised with the warmest and most enthusiastic words the remarkable and diverse personality of Eleni Mantratzi and spoke highly of her scientific work.
In particular, the president of the Athens Bar Association Mr. Yiannis Adamopoulos who opened the presentation, highlighted the great necessity and importance of the work, while Dr. Dimitrios Panayiotopoulos, Lawyer, Associate Professor of Sports Law at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Vice President of the University of Central Greece and President of the International Association of Sports Law, warmly supported Eleni Mantratzi’s thesis, praised the principles of “citius, altius, fortius” (“faster, higher, stronger”) in athleticism and emphasised that the published work contributes to the filling of a gap that exists in sports legislation through the assessment of the antisocial and anti-athletic nature of this unfair practice and through the analysis of the protected legal interests and the crimes as standardised in the current law 3708/2008.
Mr. Yiannis Ioannidis, MP of Thessaloniki, former Culture Secretary and former basketball coach, praised Eleni Mantratzi’s work, describing it as an “evangelion” with universal values for each athlete who ought to keep themselves informed through this book prior to entering a stadium to compete. He attributed the main responsibility for rigging in sports – expressions of which are doping, match fixing and violence in stadiums – to sports agents, he highlighted the importance of criminal response while at the same time underlining when the role of doping as a criminal and disciplinary offence acts as a deterrent in the mind of athletes. He also regarded a duty of the state and the National Anti-doping Council the protection of the youth and of sports activities, both inside and outside of school, as well as during elite training.
The presentation was carried forward by Mrs. Voula Patoulidou, Olympic Medallist and Head of the Red Cross Volunteering Sector who expressed her great concern about the experts’ revisions on the matter, especially when during the publication of new ministerial directives, substances fluctuate between the realm of legal and the illegal, thus adding to the confusion on what ultimately constitutes doping. She made an emotional and proud mention of the athletic and Olympic ideals, the principles of fair play and the influence on people of healthy training, education and music. She also wondered whether there is a human/athlete right to put one’s autonomy at risk, when through the use of doping substances one athlete turns against another in the pursuit of a leading position in an unfair manner.
Dr. Omiros Emmanouilidis, Sports Medical Doctor- Rehabilitation physician, Doctor of the University of Athens, Provost of the department of Sports Medicine at the National Centre for Sports Medical Research, characterised the book as the “legal counsel” for every sports agent involved with doping and faced with charges. He highlighted the medical/sports-medical aspect of the matter, the rapid developments in genetics and the moral training preconditions. He also made reference to the damaging consequences of practicing doping both on the physical as well as on the mental health of athletes, a practice which leaves behind ruins. Dr. Emmanouilidis also mentioned the negative influence of parents on their children by consciously encouraging the use of doping as a means to educational success and entry into universities and military academies.
Lastly, Olympic Medallist Lambros Papakostas emphasized that sports education, moral values and the talent of each athlete is above all. It is in practice the only thing that sets an athlete apart and offers unique encouragement, in contrast to doping. In speaking about himself, he made mention to the role that Mrs. Voula Patoulidou’s victory played in strengthening his will to compete and win.
The closing speech by writer and publisher Dr. Eleni G. Mantratzi referred with abundant dynamism and affection for the subject to the motives behind the choice of topic, the symbolism on the front cover, its indissoluble connection with sociology, medicine and sports science, criminology and criminal law, the similarities on one hand between the legal and sports race and on the other hand of doping and illegal drugs, the necessity for the sporting and legal entities to catch up with and monitor the medical and genetic entities, the lexical foundations of doping and its dangerous stimulant properties, the crime in question, the criminalisation of its unfair practices and the legitimate goods affected by it. Dr. Mantratzi additionally referred to the need to enforce the strict legal framework around doping that exists in Greece, to the dismissal of debates on whether to decriminalise certain substances and methods such as cannabinoids, to the establishment of healthy habits and practices, the protection of amateur and professional sports and to the cultivation of good people and in a wider sense, honest athletes and sports contributors, always within the frame of a non-misrecognition of the ideals of “filoprotia”, the pursuit for a lead.