The Role of Sports Bodies and Organized Crime

  • Letizia Paoli
  • Alessandro Donati


To fully understand the market relationships among the suppliers of doping products, we focus in the fifth chapter on two very different sets of actors. The first ones are officials of national sports bodies, including in this expression both the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and sports federations. As seen in the third chapter, during the 1980s and 1990s, officials of sports federations occasionally distributed doping products directly to elite athletes of some disciplines, most notably track and field and weightlifting. Most often, though, CONI and sports federations officials have “merely” provided protection to doping elite athletes and the latter’s suppliers of doping products or have not exercised their supervisory and control functions with due diligence. In doing so, Italian sports body officials often did not behave any differently than their foreign or international counterparts, as several examples suggest. On more than one occasion, moreover, Italian sports body officials enjoyed the support of successive Italian governments.

The second set of actors here analyzed consists of organized crime and underworld members and organizations, whose growing involvement in the market for doping products has repeatedly been denounced by high-level international sports officials in recent years. On the basis of the Italian data, however, we can only partially confirm these worried forecasts, even though they may still be applicable for other countries, especially in Asia. Southern Italian mafia organizations, such as Cosa Nostra, the ′Ndrangheta, and camorra, still seem to play a limited role in the market. Nonetheless, many supply-side activities can be also defined as a form of organized crime, as they meet all the requirements of the loose official definitions of organized crime adopted at the international level.

In the cases of both set of actors, we draw from the Italian market and consider the extent to which our findings can be generalized to other nations.


Organize Crime Anabolic Steroid Elite Athlete Inside Trading Criminal Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Letizia Paoli
    • 1
  • Alessandro Donati
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Leuven Faculty of Law LINC, Leuven Institute of CriminologyLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.LiberaRomaItaly

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