CHENNAI: The BCCI has been fighting battles on multiple fronts of late. It may soon find itself engaged in another, albeit needless, one on the domestic front.
The latest organisation to find themselves on the BCCI’s wrong side is the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), whose plan to test domestic cricketers from next season (year) has apparently not gone down well with the former. This is not uncommon in the world of cricket, as many cricket bodies authorise their National Anti Doping Organisations to test domestic players. But BCCI officials are of the view that they answer only to the World Anti Doping Agency and the International Cricket Council. They’ve also had their own anti-doping programme since 2013 and have roped in Swedish firm International Dope Tests and Management for conducting tests.
But NADA chief Navin Agarwal maintains that all those arguments are valid only for international cricket. “The Swedish firm they’ve hired, that’s only for international cricket,” he told Express. “All Indian domestic sports fall within our purview. The government of India rules are quite clear on this matter and there is no ambiguity. No exception has been made for cricket.”
Agarwal, though, stressed that a matter of conflict did not arise as he was sure the BCCI wanted to prevent doping as well.
“Why should they oppose us? I’m sure they want to prevent doping as well,” he said. “We will discuss this with them at an appropriate level and reach an agreement.”
However, noises coming out of the BCCI have indicated that the two bodies are far from being on the same page. At a recent meeting of captains of Ranji Trophy teams, BCCI officials reportedly told them that they did not have to submit to NADA testing. And while they swear flatly by WADA, the BCCI has had a strained relationship with the world body, opposing its whereabouts clause which required players to disclose a location and time for testing, once every three months. But in their defence, WADA considers BCCI low risk with no high profile doping cases in Indian cricket in recent years. Of other cricket boards, Australia, South Africa get dope tests done through their national anti-doping organisations.
The BCCI gets its samples tested at the WADA-accredited National Dope Testing Laboratory in New Delhi. Dr Vece Paes, father of tennis ace Leander, heads the BCCI team of anti-doping measures. According to official estimates, the board spends around `90 lakh annually on anti-doping and dope-testing activities.
It can be noted that the Professional Golf Tour of India also runs an anti-doping programme. It has also started random dope tests in tournaments. Like BCCI, the PGTI also gets samples tested at NDTL and doesn’t come under the NADA umbrella. Officials say they don’t have to be, for not being part of the Indian Olympic Association. Agarwal, however, stated clearly that is not the case.