World Anti-Doping Authority To Introduce Harsher Penalties For Drug Cheats
At its November congress in Johannesburg, South Africa, the World Anti-Doping Agency "will update its call for athletes to carry steroid passports, similar to the biological passports already used in sports such as cycling, athletics and cross-country skiing," according to Allan Maki of the GLOBE & MAIL. On top of that, WADA "is set to introduce harsher penalties for first-time cheats" effective Jan. '15. In Canada, for example, "an athlete caught using an illegal substance for the first time could receive a two-year ban." A second offense "would result in a life-time suspension." Under WADA's new rules, it is four years for a first offense, "life for a second." Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports CEO Paul Melia "will be at the WADA congress and approves of the tougher sanctions." Melia said, "It sends a strong message. As the Lance Armstrong situation showed [in cycling], a very sophisticated doping program can take place and go undetected. Right now, athletes are thinking, 'Even if I do get caught it's only two years. I'll do it.' If an athlete thinks the possibility of being caught is low then the need for a severe penalty goes up." WADA "is determined to upgrade its attack on performance-enhancing drugs through a standardized approach, with all sports in all countries educating, testing and punishing in the same fashion." Melia said the CCES "will adopt and implement the 2015 world code" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/9).