IAAF To Reintroduce Four-Year Doping Bans Ahead Of Moscow Championship
On the brink of its world championships in Moscow, the Int'l Association of Athletics Federations announced Thursday that it "will reintroduce four-year bans for serious doping violations and pushed the World Anti-Doping Agency to do likewise," according to David Wharton of the L.A. TIMES. Member federations, voting at the IAAF congress, "supported the federation's leadership in asking the WADA for tougher sanctions." The IAAF "has vowed to enforce the bans even if other sports refuse." In a statement, the IAAF council said, "The IAAF will not stint in its resolve to do everything in its power to eradicate cheating" (L.A. TIMES, 8/8). In London, Rick Boradbent reported the IAAF said that it was concerned WADA "would implement a watered down four-year ban that pandered to sceptical sports." The body stated that "it would go it alone if that proved the case." WADA "is due to vote on four-year bans in November." IAAF Council Member Helmut Digel said, "If WADA is only following some federations, who have their doubts, we have to take care of our own fate" (LONDON TIMES, 8/8).
TIMING IS KEY: BLOOMBERG's Danielle Rossingh wrote the IAAF had been forced to halve its four-year ban for first-time drugs violations in '95 "under pressure from some major track governing bodies which were concerned a longer suspension would violate national laws." That meant some athletes caught doping "had been able to sit out their bans without missing an Olympic Games." The IAAF’s decision comes two days before the start of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, "and follows a series of high-profile cases that have shaken the sport in the past two months." On July 14, U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay and Jamaica's Asafa Powell, the fastest and fourth-fastest men in the world this season, respectively, said that they would not compete in Moscow "after testing positive for banned substances" (BLOOMBERG, 8/8).