The World Anti-Doping Agency is presently considering the option of putting a blanket ban on countries whose athletes regularly dope.

WADA President Craig Reedie said such a deterrent could prove out to be a “pretty blunt instrument” in the war against doping. However, Reedie added he is waiting on a report from WADA’s independent commission before the World Anti-Doping Agency decide to push forward with this strategy. The 74-year-old Reedie said the fact that this is being discussed as a potential sanction is not entirely unhelpful and added a blanket ban would be a very, very serious sanction because it tends to be a pretty blunt instrument and may be that is required.

The WADA Chief said there has been a precedent in countries being banned by individual ruling bodies of sports. The International Weightlifting Federation is one organization that had banned countries whose members frequently flout anti-doping rules. In 2011, the IWF suspended Nigeria for repeated doping offenses that meant the most populous nation of Africa was unable to send weightlifters to the 2002 Commonwealth Games. World equestrianism’s governing body, the FEI, suspended the United Arab Emirates earlier this year after a series of scandals over doping, horse welfare, and phantom races.

It is however important to remember that the World Anti-Doping Agency cannot impose any suspension itself though it can lobby for the introduction of such a ban.

Reedie also remarked the World Anti-Doping Agency lacks the sufficient resources to tackle the issue. The WADA President remarked people who wish to cheat have different and more opportunities to cheat than we have to resolve it in conventional ways. He added if somebody produces a completely new substance that should be banned, it will take us some time to firstly identify it and then create a test for it. If that was not all, financial limitations of the WADA mean it would be unable to test as many athletes as it would like even when the latter is successfully devised. Reedie also said if you look at our new (anti-doping) code, you will see there’s a much greater emphasis on investigations and intelligence gathering, and this involves a whole range of entities — law enforcement, customs and sports people.

In the last few weeks, the world governing body of athletics has came under intense pressure for its stance on anti-doping after claims made by the Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD. The two organizations claimed the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) failed to create and maintain high standards of anti-doping. It was claimed by ARD and British newspaper The Sunday Times that a third of medals awarded in endurance events in the Olympics and world championships between 2001-2012 were won by athletes who had recorded suspicious doping tests in the past. Two anti-doping experts described over half the 800 athletes whose blood samples as “highly suggestive of doping or at the very least abnormal” came from Russia.

On Sunday, the IAAF denied claimed it vetoed a survey that revealed a third of athletes at the 2011 World Championships had admitted to doping.

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