Friday, August 7, 2009

‘Whereabouts’ What about?

By Siddu Kaloji
Doping is the biggest threat to the sporting world. International Olympic Committee (IOC) struggling to make sports world free from the drugs. Its new initiative to curtail the use of performance enhancive drugs in the sports has created huge fuss among the sporting arena.

The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), the only credible, independent and official anti-doping watchdog with the backing from IOC as well has formulated a new code.

Compliance with WADA norms will enhance games credibility and it is a mandatory requirement for all teams participating in global multi-sport competitions like the Asian Games and Olympics. ICC signed WADA in July 2006. But, now Indian cricketers refused to sign the WADA fearing that the code infringes on their privacy and personal space.

WADA new code mandates the establishment of an International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP) of players who are nominated for random testing based on their ICC rankings. Players from this pool have to inform the ICC at the beginning of every quarter of the year, a location and time that they will be available for an hour each day in that quarter for testing. If a player changes his/her schedule in between, then he/she needs to update the whereabouts information to the nodal officer either online or even through SMS. However, if the player is not in the location at the time specified, he/she will have a strike recorded against his name. Three such strikes and the player will have breached the code and can face up to a two-year suspension from the game.

Practically, it is difficult for any player to be available for an hour in a day continuously for three months that too when you are not playing. Instead WADA should allow the players to come under the purview of its anti doping code not more than fifteen days before the start of the every event. So that it didn’t need to go there in searching the whearabouts of the players for testing continuously for three months during off season.

There are 11 Indian players in the ICC's IRTP, namely Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Munaf Patel, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj. Dhoni and Tendulkar are in the hit list of terrorists and they have received life Threats before, have raised questions about the confidentiality and security risks involved in Providing the whereabouts information in advance.

All Indian Cricketers in the IRTP have expressed their concerns and refused to sign the WADA. Whereas, Union Sports minister M S Gill has asked the cricketers to sign the WADA to make all sports free from the drugs. Even other sports persons also urged the cricketers to accept the WADA . But, cricketers and BCCI seems to be firm on their decisions. The ICC feels that most of the players Concerns are genuine and addressable. Now it has constituted a five member committee including former Indian test captain Anil Kumble to look into the concern of the Cricketers to take up with the WADA, when it meets this year end to review the law.

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