Sun | Dec 15, 2019

IOC, WADA hire DC lobbyists to discuss anti-doping bill

Published:Thursday | November 7, 2019 | 12:30 AM

KATOWICE, Poland (AP):

Not long after a bill that would criminalise international doping conspiracies advanced in the US Congress, world Olympic and anti-doping leaders made clear how they felt about the development.

They started lobbying for changes in Washington.

The International Olympic Committee and World Anti-Doping Agency have each devoted six-figure budgets to get word out on their issues with the Rodchenkov Act.

The bill, named after the Moscow lab director who blew the whistle on Russia’s cheating at the Sochi Olympics, passed the US House last month and is now awaiting action in the Senate.

The measure calls for fines of up to US$1 million and prison sentences of up to 10 years for those who participate in schemes designed to influence international sports competitions through doping. It would also allow the US Anti-Doping Agency to obtain information collected by federal investigators, which could help prosecute anti-doping cases.

WADA President Craig Reedie said the agency favoured the part of the bill that calls for transferring information.

“The area which is troublesome is the suggestion that American jurisdiction would go beyond the United States and might create liability in other parts of the world,” he said.

The bill, according to a news release from sponsor Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R. I., “would establish criminal penalties for participating in a scheme in commerce to influence a major international sport competition through prohibited substances or methods”.

But language that would have made athletes vulnerable to prosecution for doping was stripped out of the bill. That language, some critics felt, could have discouraged foreign athletes from competing in the United States.