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NEW DELHI: 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 the “full authority and powers” to send its ‘dope control officers’ to the BCCI recognised tournaments and matches to collect in-competition blood and urine samples of the cricketers. The TOI had exclusively reported on October 28, 2017 that 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.
“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,” secretary sports Rahul Bhatnagar told TOI on Saturday.
“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 (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,” Bhatnagar added.
Another official told TOI 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,” the official added.
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.”
It’s been learnt that NADA will start dope testing of cricketers in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season. NADA DG and BCCI office-bearers, including Committee of Administrators (CoA) chairman Vinod Rai, couldn’t be contacted for their response. But a BCCI source said the board would only look into the matter seriously after the Supreme Court proceedings in the Lodha committee recommendations case reaches its conclusion.