First-time drugs cheats will be banned for up to four years rather than the present two years under new rules adopted today by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The new rule, to come into effect from the start of 2015, was approved on today’s final day of the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg.
Other changes to World Anti-Doping Code approved today by WADA’s Foundation Board, and which will come into effect from 2015, include greater flexibility for anti-doping authorities in the case of athletes who co-operate with investigations, or who have taken a banned substance by mistake.
There will also be stricter penalties for coaches and others who facilitate doping by athletes, and a greater emphasis will be placed on investigative methods to catch cheats, rather than relying solely on testing.
WADA will also be able to tell individual sports which substances they should be targeting in tests – as its outgoing president John Fahey pointed out, “ "There is no point in the chess federation, for example, testing for human growth hormones."
He said that outcome of this week’s conference would be viewed as “a major milestone in the fight against doping in the years to come,” and that it “demonstrated the renewed commitment that both government and the sport movement have towards putting the rights of clean athletes ahead of all others in the years ahead.”
Fahey added: “We have now put in place an excellent set of rules, and these will require excellent practice from all stakeholders to ensure we catch the cheats and make the sports world a fairer world for the vast majority, the clean athletes.”
The new World Anti-Doping Code has been welcomed by sports minister Helen Grant, who said: “Doping has absolutely no place in sport and will not be tolerated.
“The public must have confidence that the sport they see is true and fair. Tackling doping requires a strong partnership between Government and sport and we have that in the UK.
“I support these changes to the World Anti-Doping Code that will help step up the global fight against drug cheats, suppliers, traffickers and anyone involved in doping.”
UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson added: “In the UK we have consistently stated that anti-doping needs to continually evolve to protect clean athletes.
“Today we are delighted that many of the practices already implemented in the UK are now included in the revised Code and Standards, most notably tougher sanctions for cheats and a focus on intelligence-led and flexible programmes designed to both prevent and detect doping.
“We now look forward to implementing these changes in partnership with sports in the UK, so we are able to further support our clean athletes.”
WADA has also appointed former British Olympic Association chairman Sir Craig Reedie as its new president, replacing former New South Wales premier, Fahey; his term of office will start on 1 January 2014.
Yesterday, WADA announced jointly with world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, that their respective presidents, Fahey and Brian Cookson, had “agreed the broad terms under which the UCI will conduct a Commission of Inquiry into the historical doping problems in cycling.”