Germany To Jail Athletes Using Banned Substances

Germany is set to introduce anti-doping law next year. Under the law, German athletes found guilty of using doping products could face imprisonment of up to three years.

The 46-page draft of the new law, which will be adopted in 2015, would be resulting in prosecution for athletes who fail both the A and B doping tests. In extreme cases, the proposal also includes a maximum sentence of up to 10 years for those found guilty of supplying athletes with doping substances. Possession of doping products under the new anti-doping law would also be a punishable offence, irrespective of the amount. This law would apply to around 7,000 sportsmen and women regularly tested by Germany’s National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) excluding amateur and mass sports. Regular German courts could now sentence dopers behind bars. This draft, however, is applicable only to those “earning a significant amount from sport”.

Germany’s Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said the aim of the law is to preserve the integrity of sport and to combat doping. Germany’s minister of justice Heiko Maas remarked that is a statement for clean sport and a challenge to those who dope and added we believe that this is a milestone and the law has been long over-due. De Maiziere added we want to say this is not just something that concerns sport, but this is a punishable behavior, which society as a whole believes should be punishable.

In 2009, Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière refused to draft an anti-doping law despite many doping scandals. Thomas de Maizière had then remarked he is cautious to instantly implement strong legal regulations. Now, Thomas de Maizière along with justice minister Jeiko Maas has drafted the anti-doping law. Under this law, data and documents from Germany’s courts or state prosecutors would have to be handed over to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) of Germany on request.

The new anti-doping law in waiting was welcomed by sport heads. Clemens Prokop, president of Germany’s Athletics Association (DLV), said the anti-doping law is a huge step in the effective battle against doping. Germany’s football team manager Oliver Bierhoff also supported the draft and said sport can be clean only with tough, drastic sanctions. President of the Germany’s Cycling Association (BDR), Rudolf Scharping, commented that he hopes this law also removes the in-between men and the criminal network of doping.

In another development, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reduced the doping ban of German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle from two years to six months. Sachebacher-Stehle, a former two-time Olympic champion in cross-country skiing, tested positive for the banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine at the Winter Games in February. A three-man CAS panel ruled that positive test of the athlete at the Sochi Olympics was the result of a contaminated supplement and her degree of fault was “minimal.” The CAS ruled that the athlete took the substance inadvertently in a dietary supplement. Sachebacher-Stehle was stripped of her fourth-place finish in biathlon mass start by the International Olympic Committee.

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