WADA Proposes Doubling Doping Bans For Steroids To Four Years
The World Anti-Doping Agency has proposed doubling the penalties from two to four years for "abuse of substances including anabolic steroids and human growth hormone," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The new proposal would "double the maximum penalty" for a series of offenses including trafficking and use of masking agents. As a result, discussions about including a version of the IOC's "Osaka rule" -- which banned any athlete suspended for more than six months from the Games that followed -- were dropped. If four-year bans are enforced, it would "ban cheats from the Olympics that followed in any case." WADA President John Fahey said, "It is clear from the number of submissions we received, that there is a strong desire in the world of sport, from governments and within the anti-doping community, to strengthen the sanction articles in the code" (GUARDIAN, 11/18).
DRAFTING THE RULES: REUTERS' Gene Cherry reported the new WADA code draft also includes a proposal that substances or methods must be "performance enhancing, contrary to the spirit of sport or contrary to the health of athletes" for them to be prohibited. The proposed code will "undergo further review" between now and March, when it will be presented to the WADA Foundation Board before a final draft is prepared for ratification at the world anti-doping conference in Johannesburg, South Africa next November. Fahey: "Athletes must know that there is a heavy price to pay for intentional doping. I am confident this draft will deliver that message loud and clear" (REUTERS, 11/18). The AFP noted Fahey was speaking at a WADA foundation meeting thath drew a number of participants, including Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid, who "sat solemnly and consulted his smart phone for most of the proceedings." McQuaid has "tried to defend himself against charges that he failed to fight against drugtaking in cycling" in the wake of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that revealed "rampant doping by Lance Armstrong and the teams the disgraced rider was associated with" (AFP, 11/19).