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Government Tells BCCI It Doesn't Have Authority to Test Players For Drugs

Cricketnext Staff |August 1, 2019, 12:26 PM IST
Government Tells BCCI It Doesn't Have Authority to Test Players For Drugs

The BCCI had been, told in no uncertain terms by the Sports Ministry, that they did not have the right to conduct dope tests since it is not authorised by the government or the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), an Indian Express report stated.

In a stern letter to CEO Rahul Johri, in the days leading up to Prithvi Shaw failing his dope test, the Ministry came down heavily on the BCCI and said that the board’s anti-doping programme lacked robustness and hinted at a conflict of interest since the BCCI itself tests and hands out punishment to its players.

“Article 5.2 of WADA Code provides for sampling of athletes only by an Anti Doping Organisation with testing authority. It is a matter of fact that BCCI is neither an anti-doping organisation with testing authority under WADA Code nor it can acquire such a status,” the Ministry’s letter dated June 26 stated.

The BCCI’s has determinedly refused to sign up with the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), a body with specific mandate to keep sport drug free.

While all other athletes follow NADA regulations, the BCCI alleged flaws in the testing procedures as the reason for non-compliance. The BCCI claimed that since they weren’t a government funded national federation they are not under NADA’s jurisdiction and further pointed out that their own systems to catch doping are ‘robust’ enough.

The Ministry however dismissed BCCI’s claims.

“The claim of BCCI having a robust mechanism to ensure Indian cricket is clean and free from doping is not based on facts,” the letter said. “In 2018, 215 samples were sent by BCCI to National Dope Testing Laboratory, India, for testing. Of these, 5 tested positive. There is no information as to how these athletes who tested positive have been dealt with,” it said.

The Ministry further questioned the BCCI’s overarching involvement in doping cases. As per WADA rules, which are adopted by NADA, an independent panel is formed that has no “prior involvement” with the parties involved.

However, in cricket’s case, BCCI itself appoints the hearing panel, which the Ministry said is not in “accordance with principles of the natural justice”.

“BCCI mechanism for adjudication in the event of positive dope result is not in accordance with the principles of natural justice. BCCI as an interested party and also the appointing authority for appointment of officers, tribunal members or appellate authority for adjudication,” the letter read.

The report further states that BCCI, in July, were told by the Ministry that they have to comply with NADA rules and that there will be no special treatment.

BCCI’s claim of not falling under NADA jurisdiction was also dismissed in the letter by citing a NADA rule which said, “All athletes and athlete support personnel who participate in any capacity in any activity organised, held, convened or authorised by organiser of event or league that is not affiliated with National Federation (are subject to testing by NADA).”

On Tuesday, the BCCI said Shaw has been suspended for a doping violation until November 15, 2019. It said the India batsman had “inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups”.

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