How do Anti Doping Laws regulate Sports Industry?

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This post has been written by Kabeer Kalwani, a first year law student from Hidayatullah National law University, Raipur.

Doping means the use of performance enhancing drugs to enhance the performance of the athletes in a competitive sport.  It can be done on both humans and animals too, as many sports also involve animals. Doping is banned in India, as it promotes unfair practices in a sport and also  use of illegal drugs.

According to the Definition of Cambridge, doping is the “Use of illegal drugs to improve the performance of a person or an animal in a sport competition”.

Doping is harmful as it enhances the performance in a short run but makes a huge damage to the body for long run. Doping can be done in any sport, it is not fixed for a particular sport. Although when athletes stay for longer time in their training camps it is not possible for them to keep a regular check on their food and other supplements, so it is the responsibility of the sports authority or the coach to keep those things in mind and control.

WADA and WADC

In 1998, a large number of prohibited medical substances were found by police in a raid during the Tour-de-France. This scandal highlighted the need for an independent international agency which would set unified standards for anti-doping work and coordinate the efforts of sports organizations and public authorities. The International Olympic Committee took the initiative and convened the First World Conference on Doping in Sport in February 1999, concluding in the establishment of the World Anti-Doping Agency (the “WADA“) on 10th November, 1999. Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Agency Code (the “WADC“), which is the document harmonizing anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries of the world.

About National Anti Doping Agency of India (NADA)

It is the national organization responsible for promoting, coordinating, and monitoring the  doping control program in sports in all its forms in country. The vision of NADA is of dope free sports in India.

NADA is a government of India organization, and it comes under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The primary functions of this organization are, adopting and implementing anti-doping rules and policies which conform with the World Anti- Doping Code,

Cooperating with other sports related organizations and other anti-doping organizations,

Encouraging reciprocal testing between National Anti-Doping Organizations, and

Promoting anti-doping research & education.

Scope of Anti Doping Laws India ( Specific for Cricket)

Scope, particularly here, means that who are the people coming in the ambit of this code.

Article 1 of this code exhaustively deals with the scope and application of the code and creates an onus on the players and the other staff to acquaint themselves with the code.

So, any player who has participated in any international match, either as a player in the playing XI or as a substitute player in the past 24 months, i.e. 2 years will automatically bound by the Code and shall need to comply with it.

For illustration, let us suppose a dope test is scheduled for 21st January 2020, and there is this player Milind Deshpande, who has not played any international matches since 20th January 2017. So, he remains out of the scope of this code.

However, it doesn’t set its jurisdiction over the domestic level players across the world and thus it provides for the duty of the Nation specific cricketing body to organize such dope tests in their territory.

Article 1.2.2 of this code also provides for a provision that once a player is retired from international cricket, he will not be bound by the code unless they didn’t notify ICC of their retirement in writing.

Coaches, trainers, medical staff and other support staff also come under the purview of this code and are expected to comply with the code and make themselves acquainted with the same. Article 1.4.7 clearly states that using and even possessing such prohibited substances by the officials and support staff would amount to a violation of the code and will be punishable.

Unfortunately, these Anti-Doping Rules were adopted by NADA in verbatim without taking into consideration the realities on the ground in India. The Anti-Doping Rules place a strict responsibility on athletes to be aware of what substances enter their body. However, in India, most athletes are not educated to the same level as in foreign countries and lack adequate access to resources which would enable them to identify the ingredients of what they consume. When athletes attend and reside at training camps for several months in a year, the camps are responsible for their food and supplements and the athletes cannot be expected to monitor or refuse the food being provided to them in these camps or by their coaches.

Conclusion

We can see a great hype in the viewers of each and every sport and in a country like India where cricket is considered as a religion, it is important for the board to maintain a fair practice of the game and not to exploit its importance and ethics.

Anti-doping laws are a necessity to India sports industry, as it involves use of illegal drugs and methods to enhance one’s performance with exploits the sportsmanship of every athlete. It is important for the anti-doping organisation to conduct regular tests and maintain the fair game play and stick with the rules to take the actions.

As we can conclude that the laws for doping are directly adopted and not specifically made with regard to conditions of our country, it is important to make specific laws to focus with the situation of India and then impose them for the betterment of the sports industry and the country.

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