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IAAF concerned about proposed WADA code revisions

Published:Monday | November 18, 2013 | 1:41 PM

Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer



The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) has expressed concerns over proposed revisions to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code that the world anti-doping body ratified at the WADA Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, that concluded on Friday.




It is against this background that the IAAF has proposed that at the very least WADA commit to a mid-term review of code to assess if it is delivering the intended outcomes with regard to four-year sanctions, and if it is not, undertake a full review of the proposed sanctions.



IAAF Council member Abby Hoffman speaking Wednesday on behalf of President Lamine Diack suggested that there are elements of the code that could undermine the fight against doping in that it creates too many loopholes for cheaters to escape maximum sanctions.



Since the adoption of the WADA Code in 2009, the IAAF has been increasingly aggressive against cheaters.



The governing body of track and field has invested heavily in the athlete biological passport programme which has already proven effective.



Hoffman said “In the past 12 months alone, the IAAF has concluded more than 20 doping violations using our Biological Passport system. More cases will follow.”



“Our policy (and practice) for long term storage and re-testing of samples collected at our World Championships has enabled us to detect doped athletes years after the events in question through the application of new scientific methods and technology to previously collected samples.”



She said the IAAF has developed key partnerships and information sharing agreements with many anti-doping partners as well as with government and law-enforcement agencies that has yielded great results against cheaters.



“The consequence is that there are currently 321 athletes serving a period of ineligibility under IAAF Rules, 296 of them for a sanction of two years or more,” she said.



According to the IAAF Council member, the IAAF lauds the proposed revisions to the Code which will facilitate the greater use of investigations, place greater emphasis on profiling, motivate a more concerted focus on athlete support personnel, extend the statute of limitations, provide guidance to make testing regimes more efficient and rationalise the roles and relationships of the many players involved in anti-doping. However, there are areas of concern.



Among them is the provision that four-year sanctions may be reduced to two years by an athlete simply claiming no intention to cheat when the violations are clearly intentional.



Another area of concern is the proposal (in Article 10.6) which would allow an athlete who has committed a serious doping violation to obtain a reduced sanction – from four down to two years – simply by admitting what has already been proven by an anti-doping organisation or a sport federation.



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