Anti-doping conference adds teeth to stricter code
19 November 2007, Madrid - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) concluded its third World Conference on Doping in Sport on Saturday in Madrid, electing a new president and producing their new anti-doping code to be adopted in 2009.
19 November 2007
Madrid - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) concluded its third World Conference on Doping in Sport on Saturday in Madrid, electing a new president and producing their new anti-doping code to be adopted in 2009.
Former Australian Finance Minister John Fahey will take charge of the organization, which was founded by the International Olympic Committee in 1999.
Members expect the stronger code will help add teeth to the global campaign against drug cheats, especially now that enforcement relies heavily on local police forces, and considering that doping is now a crime in five countries, including Spain.
The conference also comes two months after the US Drug Enforcement Agency, in collaboration with international police forces, confiscated 11.4 million steroid dosages, made 124 arrests and shut down 56 labs in the largest steroids bust in history, Operation Raw Deal.
Some principle points that add punch to the code include treating failure to show up for a test as a doping positive, placing the burden of proof of innocence on the athlete, and raising the sanction time for doping positives to a maximum of four years.
Despite the successes, there were still some points of discord, which will be decided later, including an opposition by some sports leagues to a move that would prohibit guilty players from training with their teams.
Also problematic has been that only 70 of the 191 countries that signed the 2003 WADA-sponsored Copenhagen Declaration have also signed the UNESCO Convention, which would effectively legally bind the governments to it.
Meanwhile, both the International Cycling Union, that sport's governing body, and WADA have continued to demand that Spain reopen the investigation into Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde, who the agencies claim was involved in the Operation Puerto doping scandal.
Complaining of nationalist protectionism, they have petitioned the Swiss Sport's Tribunal to take the case out of Spanish jurisdiction, and have also asked for a blood sample to compare with the Puerto blood bag, labeled with the name of Valverde's dog. Despite such protests, the Spanish government has defended the athlete adamantly, and has stated that it considers the matter closed.
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ KELLY RAMUNDO 2007]
Subject: Spanish news