WADA update

Suresh Menon calls the face-off a ‘heart versus head’ issue and in this piece, attempts to balance those conflicting pulls.

SportsMagIndia — a site worth following for the occasional, well-reasoned posts on off-ball topics like marketing [read this earlier piece on the problems of Kashmiri bat manufacturers, for instance] — is all ‘head’ in its approach to the issue:

Regardless of the stature of sportspersons involved, if someone has an issue with their constitutional rights being infringed, then they do have a right to protest and ask for legally valid rules and regulations to be framed by governing bodies.

Interestingly, the two issues raised above present administrators and sportspersons with diametrically opposite constitutional law challenges (i.e. one regarding a player’s right to freedom of speech and expression, and the other regarding a player’s right to privacy). It would be fascinating to see how courts and administrative bodies across the world respond to these new challenges presented by sport!

Bingo, I’d say. Much continues to be made [vide Boria Majumdar in BBC] of the number of countries [191] and sports organizations [571] that have signed up for the WADA code; and of the plethora of big names that have accepted the code [Federer! Bolt!! Abhinav Bindra!!!].

The thing though is, bad law doesn’t become good law simply because a number of people accept rather than question it.

In passing: WADA says all this is designed as a deterrent. The players in the testing pool will never know when they are going to be tested, hence they will be forced to stay clean 24/7.

Here’s the Indian list: Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, M.S. Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Munaf Patel, Virender Sehwag, Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj.

And here’s my question: does it follow that there is no pressure, no compulsion, on the others in both the men’s and women’s teams? That they can do what they like during the off season and clean themselves up just before competition?

Clearly, that is not WADA’s intent — but by naming a testing pool, all that the doping body is doing is telegraphing its punches; whether this meets the stated objective however is a question I have reservations about.

4 thoughts on “WADA update

  1. I have seen this movie played before in baseball. In the 90s and early 2000 The Major League Baseball ( MLB) due to its own comercial interest and under pressure from player unions dragged its feet on drug testing. Everybody involved in the sports knew about prevalent steroids use when the home run records were being shattered but thiswas also attracting great crowds. In the 4-5 years all that happened in that period is comming out drip by drip. Infact the period is reffered to as the ‘steroids era’ of baseball. In contrast when in American Football NFL realized it had an epidemic of steroid use on its hands layed down some strict laws and was able to avoid serious damage to its image.

  2. Important point is how did so many other international sportsmen agreed to such a condition. A premier and rich player like Federer must be having some of the smartest agents and lawyers advising him. They must have definitely gone though the whereabouts clause. Is it that this clause is exclusive to some people?

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