CHENNAI: The sports ministry and the Board of Control for Cricket are at loggerheads over compliance with anti-doping guidelines. The ministry has been asking the BCCI to adhere to National Anti-Doping Agency guidelines for a while, but the latter has quietly been dodging the issue.
However, recent positive cases involving Prithvi Shaw and two other domestic cricketers have led to a fresh tussle between the two. The mishandling of the entire episode has given enough fodder for the ministry to once again persuade BCCI to adhere to the uniform code.
Their primary argument is that BCCI is not the competent authority to collect, test or penalise doping offenders under World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines. Also, BCCI’s contention that since it is not a national sports federation and is not subject to NADA’s jurisdiction has been countered by the ministry. “Whatever the BCCI is saying is contrary to WADA and NADA rules,” said an official. “They have to follow the same guidelines as other sports because NADA’s jurisdiction extends to all athletes and sports organisations in the country.” According to a top ministry official, rule of the law should apply equally to all in the country.
“In other words, laws framed by the government need to be adopted by all,” said an official. “Otherwise there are consequences and repercussions.”
The ministry is quite clear this time. It is understood that earlier, it was trying to persuade the BCCI but this time it was communicated through a letter dated June 26. However, the BCCI is yet to respond. “How can they adjudicate their own players?” asked an official. “Take for instance, Prithvi Shaw. Even if he knows that BCCI is not the competent authority to test and penalise him, he won’t challenge, fearing the board’s wrath.”
Ministry refutes National Dope Testing Laboratory delay
Over BCCI’s claim that there was a delay on the part of the National Dope Testing Laboratory while delivering results of Shaw, an official said, “Our laboratory is a WADA-accredited one and it would not breach any of the laws. They are passing the buck now.”BCCI on Thursday claimed it was not true. “We had written to NDTL twice to get the results as soon as possible. But the NDTL said they had technical issues,” said a BCCI official.
According to a ministry official, there have been close to 10 cases since last year but we have only three names. Only the names of Yusuf Pathan and Abhishek Gupta were revealed in 2018 but the ministry claims there are five. “This year we know about three cases. Where are the others?” asked an official. However, the BCCI has completely denied this number.But if there are international players involved, then what? Will BCCI jeopardize commercial interests? That’s the reason, according to the ministry, why they cannot hand suspensions without conflict of interest. The BCCI says if that was the case, WADA would have raised concerns.
While confirming that ministry and BCCI were in discussions over the need of following a uniform anti-doping code, Sports Secretary RS Julaniya, without elaborating, said: “We have written to the BCCI to comply with NADA code because we should be governed by the rule of the law. And the rule of the law should be equal to every athlete. It’s very clear BCCI is not following WADA protocol and NADA guidelines.”
“Our minister and the ministry are committed towards the development of sports and sportspersons, so we will never allow them to suffer. Genuine concerns of athletes will be addressed by us.”