The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced an extension of bans for doping offences, from two to four years. The new rule was ratified as part of the agency’s new World Anti-Doping code that will come in play on January 1, 2015.
Athletes who currently test positive are handed two year bans when sanctioned by their national federations. However, the new code, signed in South Africa at WADA’s annual conference, will mean that athletes that are caught doping will miss an Olympic Games.
Approval of the new code comes at the end of a two year project that also includes a number of other key elements including stronger powers for authorities to punish coaches who help dope athletes. The new code also introduces more flexibility in the punishment of athletes who are found to have mistakenly taken banned substances or who co-operate with doping investigations. Doping tests will be custom-made for specific sports.
Craig Reedie was elected unanimously as WADA’s next President at a foundation board meeting. He will serve a two-year term.
"We are now equipped to go forward in the best possible way with a set of rules. It's a good day for sport, for athletes and for our future. I firmly believe that the revised code will put the interest of clean athletes as the number one priority," John Fahey, the outgoing President of WADA said.
The previous version of the code came into effect five years ago with the new version going through an extensive phase of drafts with more than 4,000 requests and suggestions.