The sports ministry has directed the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to enforce the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Code in all its “fairness and entirety” on the BCCI and conduct dope testing of cricketers during domestic and international matches being played in India.
The ministry has given NADA full authority to send its ‘dope control officers’ to the BCCI recognised tournaments and matches. These officers will collect in-competition blood and urine samples of the cricketers for analysis. The WADA has asked ICC to direct BCCI to allow dope testing of Indian cricketers by NADA. WADA had also written to India’s sports ministry asking it to ensure that BCCI is WADA-compliant. WADA had threatened to cancel NADA’s accreditation if this was not ensured.
What Does the Sports Ministry Say?
Sports secretary Rahul Bhatnagar said “I have instructed NADA’s director general (Navin Agarwal) to send his DCOs to cricket tournaments in India to collect the samples of cricketers. If the BCCI resists or creates any hurdle in NADA’s functioning, we won’t hesitate from taking further action against the cricket board”.
“We will first start with in-competition testing during matches played in India. Then, we will gradually move forward (to conduct out-of-competition testing). If the BCCI has not responded to NADA’s previous mails, doesn’t mean we (sports ministry) will stop discharging our duties. Let them first stop us from conducting dope tests. We will see what more needs to be done. The important thing is we will conduct testing within our parameters and rules and regulations as stipulated in the WADA Code”.
What Happens If They Refuse?
Another official said that the ministry would drag BCCI to court if it continued to defy NADA. “BCCI is a public body. It’s true that it doesn’t take any financial grant from the ministry. But like any other national sports federation (NSF), it has to take permission to hold international tournaments and bilateral series. So, it can’t continue saying we won’t allow NADA to test cricketers. But engage a private international dope testing firm (IDTM) for sample collection”.
Bhatnagar said: “We have to take this issue to its logical conclusion once and for all. For now, we are going ahead with the sample collection. We don’t want to become non-compliant to the WADA Code.”