Germans hope doping law helps Olympic bid
BERLIN (AP):German officials hope a proposed anti-doping law will increase support around the country for a 2024 Olympic Games bid.
Germany plans to put up either Berlin or Hamburg as host. Both cities face vigorous anti-Olympic campaigns.
"If the sport is cleaner, the acceptance for a bid would also increase," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said yesterday in officially presenting the bill.
The draft law sees jail terms of up to three years for professional athletes caught using, or possessing, performance-enhancing drugs. Foreign athletes caught doping in Germany also risk prison.
Doctors and others who provide drugs face jail terms of up to 10 years.
The bill is expected to go to the Cabinet for approval in April.
"It is an effective law ... a clear law, but also a tough law," de Maiziere said.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the law was "a statement for clean sport and a challenge to the dopers in elite sport".
Maas said foreign athletes who dope while competing in Germany will be covered by the new law, but it's "not so easy" to apply it to Germans caught doping abroad - the foreign country would have to be asked to provide evidence.
About 7,000 German professional athletes who are covered by the national testing programme are affected by the proposal. It would not apply to hobby athletes.
Prominent anti-doping campaigners criticised the draft.
Heidelberg professor Werner Franke said it was wrong to exclude amateurs and hobby athletes. He said state support for sport was based "on the number of medals", and did not help young people pick up a sport.
Former East German sprinter Ines Geipel said doping was "a system with many interested sides" but the draft law singled out athletes as "black sheep".