WADA Not Supportive Of Jail Term For Doping Cheats

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has remarked that it does not support the imposition of criminal sanctions on cheating athletes despite it in the favor of a tougher code that will come into effect on January 1 next year.

The new WADA Code will punish first-time offenders with four-year bans instead of two years of suspension. It also puts a greater emphasis on investigation and gathering intelligence.

Sir Craig Reedie, WADA President and former chairman of the British Olympic Association, made this comment after a three-year sentence for doping offenders was proposed by a draft German law. Reedie said dopers should only be sanctioned within the rules of their sport and added a custodial sentence is not appropriate. He remarked an athlete should be sanctioned under the sports rules which have been developed over many years and he should not be sanctioned under Criminal Law.

Reedie, speaking at a members’ meeting, also insisted that the World Anti-Doping Agency is working closely with the Brazilian anti-doping organization to make sure that the quality of tests at Rio 2016 are adequate. Reedie said it is important that we have the laboratory in Rio re-accredited so it doesn’t make any mistakes. The WADA President added it made some mistakes, which is why it lost its accreditation and added but nothing would be worse for athletes than to take part in the competition when they knew there was any question of wrong results from a laboratory that we used to test the samples. Last year, the credentials of the drug-testing laboratory in Rio de Janeiro were revoked by WADA as it failed to comply with the agency’s standards. The revocation forced FIFA, the world governing body of football, to turn to a Switzerland lab for the analysis of the 2014 World Cup samples.

It was also announced by WADA that pledges for the creation of an anti-doping research fund reached more than US$10 million (S$13 million) that match the financial investment made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). WADA announced pledges from the Ivory Coast, Japan, Qatar, Russia, France, Sweden and Peru, joining Turkey, South Korea, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United States. These countries were named by WADA as donors for its research fund that will be beneficial for exploring new techniques for the detection of prohibited substances and methods. Therefore, the joint project will have a budget of about US$20 million.

Reedie also commented on the growing incidents of doping in Kenya. The African country has experienced a dramatic increase in doping cases. This year, Rita Jeptoo was among the high-profile cheats. The Kenyan marathon runner tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), which is used by strength athletes and cyclists to improve the production of red blood cells in the body. Reedie said WADA officials recently met their Kenyan counterparts to help them establish the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya with Chinese and Norwegian agencies providing technical training and guidance. Reedie also commented that Kenya produces many of the very best middle- and long-distance runners in the world and it is very much in Kenya’s interest to have this treated properly.

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