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NEW DELHI: Defying a sports ministry directive, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has made it clear that it will not budge from its anti-doping policies and will not allow the government’s watchdog, National Anti Doping Agency (Nada), to conduct the tests on Indian cricketers.
BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, in a letter to the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada), Nada and sports secretary Rahul Bhatnagar on Wednesday, made several technical points claiming that Nada had no jurisdiction over Indian cricketers. There was no requirement for Nada to test cricketers because the BCCI was not a national sports federation, Johri stated.
Insisting that its present anti-doping system was robust enough, Johri said the BCCI’s response had been framed under the instructions of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) that is currently supervising the running of the board.
The board was forced to come out with a reply after TOI’s exclusive report on October 28 highlighted the contents of a letter by Wada to sports minister RVS Rathore, where it had warned that Nada could be disaffiliated if Indian cricketers were not brought under its anti-doping programme.
Subsequently, the sports ministry had written to BCCI asking it to come under Nada’s testing regime.
“It is relevant to mention here that BCCI is not a national sports federation. Accordingly, Nada does not have jurisdiction to conduct dope testing of Indian cricketers in any domestic or international event organised or under the aegis of BCCI,” Johri wrote in the letter.
The letter states that the BCCI has had meetings with Wada and ICC, following which ICC amended the whereabouts clause with effect from August 1, 2010. In 2009, Indian cricketers had objected to the whereabouts clause citing privacy and security concerns. According to this clause, it is mandatory for every sportsperson to give details of his/her whereabouts for an hour every day, to enable surprise dope testing.
While asserting that BCCI adheres to WADA’s anti-doping code as ICC is a signatory to the world body, Johri clarified that all its samples are tested in the National Dope Testing Laboratory, “as mandated by Wada”. “Since the CEO of NDTL is the secretary, department of sports, ministry of youth affairs and sports, the dope testing for BCCI is under aegis of the department of sports,” the letter stated.
In another letter to the sports ministry which had asked BCCI in October to cooperate with Nada, Johri claimed that the board’s system is transparent and in compliance with Wada. “The BCCI already has a robust dope testing mechanism which is employed for both during competitions and out-of- competitions and the testing of samples by IDTM is already being done at WADA-accredited laboratory (NDTL) under the aegis of the sports ministry.”
Taking a jibe at Nada, Johri wrote that “BCCI is the only sporting body in India which has created a 24×7 anti-doping helpline”. He also said that BCCI has consistently reported the highest number of sample testing in the world amongst all cricket boards.
The letter also pointed out that out-of-competition testing implemented by the BCCI is in conformity with the ICC Code and “incorporates the ‘ICC anti doping code: whereabouts requirements for out-of-competition testing’.”
The sports ministry and Nada officials could not be contacted for their reactions.