BCCI will have tough time after rejecting WADA clause


New Delhi: The Indian cricket board could be in for a tough time for rejecting the controversial “whereabouts” clause of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), as world’s football governing body FIFA also was not granted any exemption from it.

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The clause has been vehemently opposed by footballers and tennis players among other athletes.

FIFA is still not a WADA signatory and tennis star like Rafael Nadal went to the extent of calling the procedure an “harassment”.

WADA, however, insists that it is important to check the growing menace of doping as cheating athletes can go to any extent to flout rules. Also there are certain doping substances, traces of which cannot be found if not tested within a time frame and athletes take advantage of it. So the offenders can be caught if they are tested out-of-competition and without any prior information

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has strongly opposed the ‘whereabouts’ clause, where players have to provide details of their location for one hour every day of the year.

Both FIFA and European football body UEFA have formally rejected the ‘whereabouts’ rule, arguing that team sport players should be treated differently. Following the stringent approach of both these bodies, WADA has warned that they will not get special treatment over the drug-testing of its players.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) can fight on the lines of cricket being a team sport and players have to be treated differently from the individual sport, but compliance to WADA norms is mandatory if cricket has to be part of multi-sport competitions like the Asian Games and Olympics.

An athlete, who trains on his own, might be difficult to locate, but a team-sport athlete is present at the stadium six days out of seven, and thus easy to locate.

FIFA and UEFA, therefore, oppose the individual “whereabouts” clause and want to see it replaced by collective location rules, within the scope of the team and the stadium infrastructure.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been conducting anti-doping tests at its events since 2002 but became a signatory of WADA in July 2006. The updated WADA code was unanimously approved last year by the ICC board.

During the trial period the overwhelming majority of players from all countries, except India, submitted whereabouts information.

The 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 the player is changing the schedule, he/she has to update the whereabouts information to the WADA officer online or through SMS.

There are 11 Indian players in the ICC’s IRTP, namely Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Munaf Patel, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj.

But more than the privacy, it must be the security that players must be more concerned with.

Dhoni and Tendulkar have received security threats from terrorist organisations and a certain degree of security risk prevails in providing information about whereabouts in advance – though WADA claims that the information is kept strictly confidential.

The BCCI has already missed the Aug 1 deadline to sign the code. All other ICC members have signed the code.