BCCI to conduct dope awareness programme

Experts slam Indian cricketers for refusing to sign anti-doping clause


“The (ICC) Anti-Doping Code has to filter down to the domestic level and we are for the moment planning to conduct an education programme for domestic cricketers. We will think about all other things once we are through with this,” said BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty om Tuesday.

“We will have to include the domestic coaches and physios also in the education progamme,” he said.

Shetty was not prepared to talk on matters, including setting up of a medical panel or testing the samples taken from the players, insisting that the first step was to conduct the education programme at the domestic level.

“We plan to do it over the next two months”, he said.

The Code has a controversial “whereabouts” clause, by which selected top cricketers need to inform the dope-testing authorities about their whereabouts each day for three months in advance.

The concerned Indian cricketers had raised objections by insisting to the BCCI their security was under threat if they sign this clause and their privacy would also get infringed.

The Board has accepted their view and told the International Cricket Council it was an unacceptable part of the Anti-Doping Code.

Meanwhile, cricketers came under sharp attack for refusing to sign an anti-doping clause from sports medicine experts who said that the arguments put forward for not signing the WADA code were “silly and absurd”.

The experts said there was no justification for the BCCI and the players to reject the code which has been accepted by international sports bodies.

“It is ignorance of the WADA system which probably has led to such a decision. The BCCI and the cricketers have no idea about the rules and regulations and that is why they have created such a situation,” Dr Manish Chand, the Director of Dope Control for the 2010 Commonwealth Games said.

Other sports medicines experts also ridiculed the BCCI for putting up “absolutely silly reasons” for not signing the ‘Whereabouts Requirement’ clause which makes it mandatory for sportspersons to disclose their location three months in advance for out of competition dope tests.

While Dr P S M Chandran, a leading sports medicine expert who has been involved with the Sports Authority of India’s anti-doping program, termed the cricketers’ decision as a “virtual revolt”, another expert Jaspal S Sandhu said the BCCI reasoning was absurd.

Dr Chand said there was no reason for the BCCI to not accept the WADA code particularly after the ICC has signed it.

“Somebody should educate the BCCI and the players about how the WADA system works. There cannot be an exception for cricketers only. Top sportspersons the world over have signed it and the purpose is only to make the sport dope-free. When so many federations have signed, what is the BCCI’s problem?” he asked.

Chandran was more scathing in his criticism saying Indian cricketers are virtual non-entities compared to great sportsmen who have willingly signed the code. “Are our cricketers bigger than so many great sportspersons the world over who have signed this code? I think it is just an issue of ignorance on part of the players,” he said. Chandran said it was “surprising and strange” that the BCCI was encouraging its players to revolt against the code after having allowed the ICC to sign it.

“This itself shows that the BCCI encourages indiscipline. The ICC signed this code long time back, what was the BCCI doing? Why was it sleeping over this matter till the expiry of the deadline for players?,” he reasoned. “It is foolish to expect that the WADA will make exemptions only for Indian cricketers.”

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