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Monday 18, Nov 2013

  WADA Doubles Ban For First Offence To 4 Years

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Wada doubles ban for first offence to 4 years

The World Anti-Doping Agency has passed a rule that will keep drug cheats out of at least one Olympics. This was after WADA doubled the ban for a first offence from two years to four.

The anti-doping agency also passed a rule under which athletes will be offered possible immunity from punishment in return for “substantial” information on doping. This rule is expected to provide an incentive to cyclists to testify in a planned inquiry into their sport’s drug-stained past. The principle will apply only to current cyclists, not banned cyclists including American rider Lance Armstrong. After an extensive investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong was banned for life in 2012 and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. The cyclist was implicated and punished despite never failing a doping test.

Outgoing World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey said if you can bring about a greater good with the cooperation you give, then there ought to be some encouragement for you. He added it would be judged on a case-by-case basis and dealt with in the most conscientious way. Fahey added we are now equipped to go forward in the best possible way with a set of rules and it’s a good day for sport, for athletes and for our future. He also added that he firmly believes that the revised code will put the interest of clean athletes as the number one priority. Fahey also remarked we must turn those words, those intentions, into action. Fahey told delegates in Johannesburg that the executive committee unanimously endorsed and agreed to approve the code and the standards.

Under the new updates, WADA will have strengthened powers of punishing athlete support personnel, the trainers, coaches, and officials that assist in doping. In the past coaches and officials were not subject to the same anti-doping rules as athletes.

WADA also elected IOC Vice-President Craig Reedie of Britain as the next President to take over on January 1 while Makhenkesi Stofile of South Africa will be the new Vice-President.

The incoming WADA president said he certainly hopes that the higher sanctions become a much more regular fact of life. IOC President Thomas Bach said the new measures are an excellent step forward and the IOC welcomes any improvement in the fight against doping and it is a much-improved code but it alone is not enough.

The anti-doping agency also extended the period of statute of limitations from eight to 10 years, which will allow statute of limitations will be extended from eight to 10 years. The code will take effect on January 1, 2015, in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. This code will ensure that athletes found guilty of intentional doping miss the next games.

A post-conference declaration urged for extra resources for the World Anti-Doping Agency, co-funded by the Olympic movement and governments, and for more anti-doping legislation to be adopted by governments. The declaration said governments of countries without a national anti-doping organization are encouraged to establish one or join a regional anti-doping organization.

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Wednesday 29, May 2013

  Rugby League Cooperation On Doping Urged by WADA

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Rugby League Cooperation On Doping Urged by WADA

John Fahey, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency has urged the National Rugby League to stop stonewalling in the doping scandal that has engulfed two of the leading sports of the country.

In February this year, an Australian Crime Commission report revealed dozens of players in the Australian Football League and the National Rugby League might have used illegal supplements.

The project, code named Project Aperio, was a 12-month ACC investigation, supported by ASADA and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which examined  four key issues: new generation Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs (PIEDs) that were previously considered to be only used by elite athletes and are now widely available, the involvement of organized criminal identities and groups in the distribution of new generation PIEDs, the use of WADA prohibited substances by professional athletes in Australia, and current threats to the integrity of professional sport in Australia. The report revealed peptides and hormones, despite being prohibited substances in professional sport, are being used by professional athletes in Australia, facilitated by sports scientists, high-performance coaches and sports staff. Widespread use of these substances has been identified, or is suspected by the ACC, in a number of professional sporting codes in the country. It was also found that the level of use of illicit drugs within some sporting codes is considered to be significantly higher than is recorded in official statistics.

Doping authorities cannot rely on that background for any potential action against the athletes, the WADA chief said and pointed to the success of the lengthy investigations of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that the eventual confession by Lance Armstrong that he had doped while winning the Tour de France.

Cronulla Sharks forward Wade Graham was the first player interviewed by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency as it investigates the possible use of banned drugs by the NRL club in 2011. However, the two sides soon realized they were far apart on key issues, and ASADA called an early end to the interview. Players, under their NRL contracts, are obliged to give ASADA “reasonable assistance,” and that appears to be the main point of difference between Sharks players and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency, along with fears that answers could be self-incriminating.

The AFL, the Melbourne-based organizers for Australian Rules football, had been more proactive, Fahey said while continuing his attack on rugby league administrators in an interview. Fahey said there has been “a profound silence” from the rugby league. There was the possibility of reductions in penalties for athletes who provide substantial assistance and testimony in doping investigations, Fahey added.

A few weeks earlier, Australia’s sports minister Kate Lundy she was concerned about not being able to provide names and details from the crime commission report. The sports minister was an important figure at the Canberra news conference that outlined the widespread use of prohibited substances including peptides, hormones and illicit drugs, and the infiltration of organized criminal groups in the distribution of performance enhancing drugs. Lundy said she feels frustrated at the time because she knew that it would take some time before authorities would be in a position to finalize their investigations and their progress would depend on a lot of cooperation from all parties involved.

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Sunday 26, May 2013

  Harsher Global Doping Code Planned By WADA

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Harsher Global Doping Code Planned By WADA/strong>

Top officials of the World Anti-Doping Agency are honing a new global code that includes doubling suspensions for some drug cheats. The executive committee and foundation board of the anti-doping agency recently met in Montreal for reviewing the third draft of the proposed 2015 World Anti-Doping code that will come up for approval at the November 12-15 World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg.

Last November, the anti-doping agency revealed that it has plans to increase bans for serious violations from two years to four years and its president, John Fahey, said the final revision was intended to make the code shorter and sharper. Fahey remarked the World Anti-Doping Agency had received almost 4,000 individual comments about the code since starting the review in November 2011. The updates follow a two-year consultation process, which ended in March. WADA received a total of 174 submissions, which were revised to create a new version of the international code.

In a WADA statement, Fahey remarked WADA values the input of these stakeholders and is pleased with the level of their engagement throughout the review process and added that WADA continually seeks to enhance the framework that supports the anti-doping system, and revisions depend on these contributions.

Presently, athletes found guilty of a first major doping offense are handed a ban of two years with any subsequent positive test incurring a life-ban. The longer ban would be introduced for offenses that include the use of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, masking agents and trafficking, according to a second draft of the 2015 WADA code that was reviewed. Fahey said there is a strong desire in the world of sport, from governments and within the anti-doping community to strengthen the sanction articles in the code and this second draft has done that, doubling the length of suspension for serious offenders and widening the scope for anti-doping organizations to impose lifetime bans.

The proposed new code also defines punishments in cases involving coaches and other athletic support staff among other amendments with an emphasis on testing and investigations along with the longer sanctions for athletes caught using prohibited performance-enhancing substances. Fahey remarked quality WADA-approved testing programs are needed to ensure that testing is effective and that sophisticated cheaters are found, which will ultimately advance the fight against doping in sport. He also remarked the agency heard a strong demand from athletes to strengthen the consequences for those who intentionally set out to get an advantage by doping and added we are in the business to protect the overwhelming majority of clean athletes around the world and the way you protect clean athletes and support them is to deal properly and effectively with the cheats.

The new code is expected to come into effect in 2015.

The agency also decided to immediately implement a modification to increase the threshold level for marijuana to ensure that athletes using the substance in competition will be detected. The Kenyan government was also urged by the Athlete Committee to put in place an independent inquiry to investigate the doping allegations involving some Kenyan athletes.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Harsher Global Doping Code Planned By WADA

Saturday 17, Nov 2012

  Armstrong Charges Had Substance, Says Fahey

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Armstrong Charges Had Substance, Says Fahey

The WADA chief said he was certain that the United States Anti-Doping Agency acted in a proper way in their investigations while evaluating the accusations made by the former teammates of the seven-time Tour de France champion and allegations made by others.

Fahey said he and WADA are confident that the USADA acted within the World Anti-Doping Agency Code and that a Texas court also decided not to interfere. While Armstrong has always maintained his innocence, his decision not to contest the charges levied by USADA surprised many who till then believed in the honesty of the cyclist.

The 41-year-old cyclist said while deciding not to contest the charges that he was weary of the prolonged legal dispute. Armstrong said USADA’s investigation was an “unconstitutional witch hunt” and he has enough of dealing with claims that he cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. The anti-doping agency then announced it would impose a lifetime ban on Armstrong, and planned to strip him of the seven Tour titles he won from 1999-2005. The cyclist sued the agency in an attempt to block the case but the lawsuit was rejected by a judge, siding with USADA despite questioning the agency’s pursuit of American cyclist in his retirement.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency wiped out 14 years of Armstrong’s career — including his record seven Tour de France titles — and barred him for life from cycling after concluding he used banned substances and the cyclist is now officially a drug cheat in the eyes of his nation’s doping agency.

Fahey added that Armstrong had a right to contest the charges but he selected not to and now must live with the consequences of his decision not to continue fighting allegations against him. He further added that the refusal by the cyclist to evaluate the evidence means the charges had substance in them and penalties can be imposed under the rules.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) that initially backed Armstrong’s legal challenge to USADA’s authority later succumbed to mounting pressure and decided to ratify the sanctions imposed by USADA on the cyclist.

Fahey replied Olympic medals and titles are for other agencies to decide, not WADA when asked whether the United States Anti-Doping Agency had the authority to strip Armstrong of his Tour de France titles. Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, said the cyclist could have saved some his titles had if cooperated with the anti-doping agency but he choose not to and now will be losing his seven Tour de France titles and other awards, event titles, and cash earnings while the International Olympic Committee is looking at the bronze medal he won in the 2000 Games. International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the IOC would have to consider decisions made by USADA and the UCI “before deciding its next steps.”

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Armstrong Charges Had Substance, Says Fahey

Saturday 26, Jul 2008

  New technology to catch users of steroids, EPO, and other banned drugs

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Congress, steroids, baseballAthletes who use banned compounds like EPO and anabolic steroids should beware. Let what happened to cyclist Ricardo Ricco be a lesson.

The Italian cyclist, who has been a two-stage winner of Tour de France, was expelled from the race because of the newfangled anti-doping technology.    Ricco was ninth overall before he was evicted Thursday before the 12th stage. His team, Saunier Duval, subsequently quit the race, and Ricco and teammate Leonardo Piepoli were later fired. Piepoli has confessed of using the same third generation EPO, which Ricco has tested positive for.

Apparently, it’s not only on the war on terror that technologies have been stepped up but also on war against drugs –stealth modes are now being used to catch the enemies, so to speak. With this cunning detection method, we wonder who would be the next athletes to be smoked out of their juiced up haven.

The Sydney Morning Herald published this report July 24:

A MOLECULE was the undoing of Tour de France drug cheat Ricardo Ricco, World Anti-Doping Agency chief John Fahey revealed yesterday.

Fahey said the war on drugs was stepping up, with WADA uniting with drug manufacturers to trap cheats. Italian rider Ricco, who had won stages six and nine of the Tour, tested positive for the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO). It’s believed Ricco thought there was no test for the red-cell booster he was using called Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator (CERA).

A molecule placed in the drug during its manufacture caught Ricco out last week, and Fahey said that more cheats would be sprung like this.
“I can’t tell you the details of how he was detected,” Fahey told ABC Radio. “[But] I can indicate the particular substance is called CERA … which is a perfectly legitimate substance to deal with anaemia.

“In the development of that particular substance close cooperation occurred between WADA and the pharmaceutical company Roche Pharmaceuticals so that there was a molecule placed in the substance well in advance that was always going to be able to be detected once a test was undertaken.”

The WADA chief is hopeful that more drug companies will advocate this new technology, ridding competitive sports of athletes who rely on steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs to win. The Beijing Games will also be the cleanest Olympics yet, he added, because of improved testing technology.

“The more co-operation the scientists can have with the drug companies in the detection of performance-enhancing drugs the greater the likelihood is they will be detected when tests are undertaken,” Fahey said.

“[But] I can give this guarantee – there’s a far greater likelihood that anybody cheating or attempting to cheat in the Beijing Games will be caught than in any other time of our history.”

However, there seems to be counterflow to this kind of technology. Ever heard of gene doping? It is defined by WADA – yup, the same organization Mr. Fahey leads – as “the non-therapeutic use of cells, genes, genetic elements, or of the modulation of gene expression, having the capacity to improve athletic performance.” Suffice it to say that gene doping offers a new frontier for athletes who want to foil detection.