The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced changes to its List of Prohibited Substances and Methods for 2009 this weekend. The new List will be published online by October 1, 2008, and will go into effect on January 1, 2009, but a statement by WADA outlined several changes to the list and to the punishments for athletes found positive for banned substances.
New for 2009 will be more flexible sanctions, rather than a standard two-year ban for athletes who test positive for certain drugs. The change, according to WADA, "is to allow for enhanced sanctions for deliberate doping offenders, and reduced sanctions for inadvertent cheaters or for athletes who can unequivocally establish that the substance involved was not intended to enhance performance."
The new rules allow for longer suspensions, up to four years " in cases of aggravating circumstances" under the revised Code. Athletes who are caught as part of a "large doping scheme", an athlete caught multiple times or with multiple banned substances, or "an athlete engaging in deceptive or obstructing conduct to avoid the detection or adjudication of an anti-doping rule violation" could find themselves with the longer ban. "Aggravating circumstances also include situations in which a normal individual would be likely to benefit from the performance-enhancing effects of the anti-doping rule violation beyond the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility."
WADA will also enhance its support for anti-doping research. "It will commit US$6.5 million. approximately one quarter of its total budget, to research as part of its 2008 research grant program. A record number of proposals (75) were received this year from 24 countries, and 30 were selected for funding by the Executive Committee.
"These projects will help advance anti-doping research in such areas as the detection of blood manipulations, the development of techniques to detect gene manipulation, the development of new global technologies of detection, and the implementation of further means for detecting a number of substances including human growth hormone and various forms of erythropoietin."
The Executive Committee also approved the accreditation of a new laboratory in New Delhi, India.