World Sports

IAAF backs four-year bans for serious doping offences


The athletics world is determined to reintroduce four-year bans for serious first-time doping offences and will push for the necessary amendments in the World Anti-Doping Code.


The IAAF congress on Thursday passed an according statement by its council by acclamation. The code of the World Anti-Doping Agency is to be reviewed in November, with the new code to go into effect in 2015.

“The new WADA code, which will come into force on Jan. 1, 2015, will reflect our firm commitment to have tougher penalties and the IAAF will return to four-year sanctions for serious doping offences,” the IAAF said.

The IAAF imposed four-year bans between 1991 and 1997. WADA has issued two-year bans for first-time offenders, as the WADA rules are to apply across all sports, since the first code in 2004.

There are now plans to punish serious offenders with four-year bans as the rules on cheats could be tightened. The IAAF is in full support, but other sports federations have raised objections.

“We have added more weight to our instruments,’’ IAAF president Lamine Diack told a news conference. “We have a whole battery of instruments to fight doping.’’

IAAF council member Abby Hoffman expects tough talks about the WADA code, saying “the four-year ban is not a slam dunk. A lot of work has to be done.’’

“If others don’t want it, there should be space carved out to make the IAAF impose the sanctions it wants,’’ she added.

Athletics has a long history of doping offences, and has been confronted with positive tests involving sprinters Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson in the final weeks ahead of Saturday’s start of the world championships.

In addition, a long list of Turkish and Russian athletes has been banned for doping over the past months.

Diack insisted that the growing number of positive tests in Jamaica and Turkey mean that their systems are now working.

“The Jamaican tests show that we are actually progressing. They now have an anti-doping agency, a laboratory and are carrying out tests,” he said.

“Turkey is cleaning up. They are starting to control people, they are putting a system into place.’’

The IAAF said it has been on the forefront against substance abuse for decades and committed to stay tough on cheats because “it has an ethical obligation to the overwhelming majority of athletes and officials who believe in clean sport.

“The IAAF has historically been the pioneering international sport federation in the field of anti-doping. The IAAF began out-of-competition testing in 1989 and blood testing in 2001 and almost all of the key procedures in anti-doping currently in use have been originated by our sport,’’ the statement said.

German council member Helmut Digel said: “We are credible in the fight against doping. The swimmers haven’t even introduced the blood passport.

Monday Ashibogwu

Monday Michaels Ashibogwu is Editor-In-Chief of QUICK NEWS AFRICA, one of Nigeria's leading online news service.

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