US closer to signing anti-doping treaty

The United States took one step closer to signing a treaty intended to help fight doping in sport...

The United States took one step closer to signing a treaty intended to help fight doping in sport when President Bush asked the Senate to ratify the International Convention Against Doping in Sport on Thursday. The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA)-backed agreement, which was drawn up under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has already been ratified by more than 70 other nations.

The UNESCO treaty formalizes global anti-doping rules under the WADA code, getting around issues which prevented some governments, such as the United States, from being legally bound by documents of non-governmental organizations such as WADA.

The White House statement noted that the treaty was in agreement with existing US laws and policies, but the aim was to "solidify our Nation's place as a leader in the worldwide effort to rid athletics of cheating through chemistry."

The latest WADA code, which will go into effect on January 1, 2009, restricts the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to selecting host cities only in countries which have ratified the UNESCO treaty.

The accord, which was due to go into effect last year, could aid in the punishment of those who aid the athletes in procuring or using the doping products and to punish physicians based on their involvement in doping practices.

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