Faroe Islands to establish independent anti-doping body

The establishment of an independent anti-doping body serving the Faroe Islands comes as the archipelago chases Olympic recognition.

Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Group  B - Scotland v Faroe Islands - Hampden Park,  Glasgow, Scotland, Britain - September 21, 2021 Faroe Islands players pose for a team group photo before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Group B - Scotland v Faroe Islands - Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain - September 21, 2021 Faroe Islands players pose for a team group photo before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

The Faroe Islands have announced another major milestone in their pursuit of international sporting autonomy, the archipelago will soon have its own independent body to oversee anti-doping efforts.

The announcement was made by the Faroese Confederation of Sports & Olympic Committee (FCSOC), an organization that continues to aim for recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), so that athletes from the Faroe Islands can compete under their own flag at the Olympic Games.

Currently, athletes from the Faroe Islands compete as members of the Danish delegation at the Olympic Games. The reason for this arrangement comes down to a debate over whether or not the Faroe Islands are a sovereign country or not.

The Olympic Charter defines a country as “an independent State recognised by the international community.” The problem faced by the Faroe Islands is their status as an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.

The Faroe Islands have been self-governing since 1948. The archipelago has its own government, flag, and language. The Faroe Islands are also recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the International Maritime Organization.

However, and perhaps crucially in the eyes of the IOC, the foreign affairs of the archipelago are still controlled by the Kingdom of Denmark.

Faroese sporting officials have received the support of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark and the Prime Minister of Denmark in their pursuit of IOC recognition.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Athletics - Men's Marathon - T46 - Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2021.  Havard Vatnhamar of the Faroe Islands in action REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Athletics - Men's Marathon - T46 - Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2021. Havard Vatnhamar of the Faroe Islands in action REUTERS/Marko Djurica

The archipelago already competes as an independent entity at the Paralympic Games, as it was a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Faroese delegations are also sent to the Special Olympics World Games.

In recent years, the Faroe Islands have also received the green light to participate in events sanctioned by the European Olympic Committees (EOC), such as the organization’s flagship event, the European Games.

Faroese sporting bodies have also received recognition by many international sporting federations, such as the International Handball Federation (IHF), Féderation Internationale de Natation (FINA), International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), and World Archery.

The establishment of an independent anti-doping body to oversee the testing of athletes and promotion of drug-free sport would be yet another step towards the archipelago’s goal of Olympic participation.

Jon Hestoy, Vice-President of the FCSOC, stated, “we are extremely pleased to unveil plans for a new, independent anti-doping body in the Faroe Islands.”

“This demonstrates how seriously we take the issue of anti-doping & our duty to support the global fight against drugs in sport.”

“We hope this shows WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] and the IOC that - as a sporting nation - we are determined to uphold all aspects of the Olympic Charter.”

He concluded, “we would be proud to become a signatory to the WADA code to ensure anti-doping practices on the Faroe Islands are fully recognised.”

According to the FCSOC, the new anti-doping body will be operational sometime next year.

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