Athletes testing positive for recreational drugs out-of-competition would be banned by the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) for one to three months instead of two years when the policy is changed next year, officials said on Thursday.
WADA’s reduced sanctions for drugs that do not enhance the performance of an athlete are to start on Jan. 1, with a stronger focus on catching athletes who cheat instead.
Under WADA’s new code, athletes caught taking nonperformance-enhancing drugs during out-of-competition tests would see their punishment reduced to three months unless they agree to complete a rehab treatment program, in which case the sanction would be reduced to one month.
“If the athlete can establish that any ingestion or use occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance, then the period of ineligibility shall be three months,” WADA’s new code says.
“In addition, the period of ineligibility calculated ... may be reduced to one month if the athlete or other person satisfactorily completes a substance of abuse treatment program approved by the Anti-Doping Organization.”
WADA in November last year approved a revision of the World Anti-Doping Code after a two-year consultation process.
WADA would also introduce a new Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) to ensure whistle-blowers who share information on doping in sports are protected. Discouraging an individual to come forward or retaliation would count as an offense.
Use of multiple prohibited substances would also mean bans could be increased by an additional two years, while falsifying documents after an alleged ADRV would count as a separate offense, which invites another ban.
Last month, former marathon world record holder Kenyan Wilson Kipsang received a four-year ban for ADRVs that included using a fake photograph of a traffic incident to justify one of four missed whereabouts appointments.
Transgender athletes are to have an ally in the White House next week, as they seek to participate as their identified gender in high school and college sports — although state legislatures, the US Congress and the courts are all expected to have their say this year, too. Attorneys on both sides say they expect US president-elect Joe Biden’s Department of Education to switch sides in two key legal battles — one in Connecticut, the other in Idaho — that could go a long way in determining whether transgender athletes are treated by the sex on their birth certificates or by
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