WADA powerful with new code
12 November 2013, 21:29
Johannesburg - Revised rules governing the anti-doping battle will give the global policing body wider powers to act against non-compliance and tighten punishment of transgressors, its president said Tuesday.
World sporting leaders meet in Johannesburg this week at the World Conference on Doping in Sport to discuss the future of the battle against banned substances.
The meeting will ratify the third World Anti-Doping Code, which will have longer bans and increase the powers of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
"I am confident the investigative power that we will get this week through the revised code will make WADA more effective with dealing with people who drop the ball in the future," said the body's president John Fahey.
The new code will come into effect in 2015.
A fourth draft was drawn up after a two-year process which included 300 submissions that culminated in 4 000 suggested changes, ranging from substance to wording.
"Our weaponry for this fight will be far greater than before," Fahey told a news conference in Johannesburg.
"Ultimately all we could do is report on the compliance and non-compliance," he said of the current situation, after Kenyan authorities dragged their feet to probe allegations of doping amongst its athletes.
The new code doubles a ban for "intentional" dopers from two to four years, which implies automatic disqualification of the next Olympics.
"That's what the consultative process has told us across the board people want," said Fahey.
At the same time it had "flexibility" for athletes who accidentally take banned substances, such as certain medicines.
Athletes' support personnel, often a big influence in doping, are also targeted, though WADA put responsibility to enforce the rules with the sports federations -- a tender point in their current relations.
"We have not got that capacity now," he said.
"It will require for all of those who are compliant with their rules, international federations, to have the capacity to deal with the entourage."
Relations are frosty at the moment between WADA and sporting federations, who accuse the body of playing schoolteacher but doing little to give practical help in the anti-doping fight.
The conference will also accept a new "steroid passport", which will join the biological passport to detect doping.
The biological passport is a record of athletes' blood samples, which allows for tests into fluctuations in their normal levels as opposed to detecting banned substances.
The steroid passport adds records from urine samples and will take effect from next January.
Up to now 176 countries have ratified the UNESCO convention that contains the code. It becomes law in every country that ratifies.
"That is the fastest and most successful convention in UNESCO's history," said Fahey.