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July 2, 2007

The drugged cricketer

WADA and out: no winners in the drugs scandal

Kamran Abbasi
Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar arrive at the Gaddafi Stadium for a hearing on doping charges, Lahore, October 28, 2006
 © AFP
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Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif can heave a massive sigh of relief. You can be sure that if their case had been heard at the Court for Arbitration for Sport their plea of ignorance would not have been received sympathetically.

In truth, though, there are no winners. Shoaib and Asif will have to endure snide remarks for the rest of their careers. The ICC has been shown to be impotent beyond events that it officially organises, a sorry state for a sport's governing body. WADA flexed its muscles and discovered that they are no bigger than those puny bumps possessed by Montgomery Burns. And the PCB has bizarrely claimed a triumph when it set off this whole farce with a badly executed hearing and then staged a pantomime over the appearance of Shoaib and Asif in the World Cup.

There is no place for performance-enhancing drugs in sport but we don't want miscarriages of justice either. The PCB, ICC, and WADA have all contributed to this failure of process. It can't be allowed to happen again but it will unless all three organisations make sure their processes are aligned.

I wouldn't bet on it.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Keywords: Drugs

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Salman on (July 20, 2007, 10:46 GMT)

This is for Ramesh who has astonishingly compared Lee with Akhtar and called the former as better! Well, he is better advised to check Lee's Test record - his averages and strike-rate and compare with Akhtar; also in the area of fielding support and the mountain of runs the Aus batting forms up for their bowlers to bowl with. To my knowledge, Akhtar has always been ranked higher than Lee in ICC Test ratings despite missing so many matches. what's the use of being fit when you cannot perform to the required elite standards?

Posted by ubaid on (July 12, 2007, 1:36 GMT)

Well said Omer admani. Enough of the conspiracy theories. Also some people have been using the word Vindicated which means,absolved, clear, cleared, exculpated, exonerated in the wrong sense. I guess they wanted to say vindictive. It was extremely confusing.

Posted by Tay'yab-Ali Malik on (July 11, 2007, 15:52 GMT)

Khansahab(A.A.Khan. You have mention on two occasions that Shoaib has broken the 100mph unoficially. I recall his delivery to Nick Knight during the 2003 WC in SA was officially clocked over 100mph.

Posted by vik on (July 11, 2007, 13:05 GMT)

Every single player is responsible for what goes in their body. Asif and Akhtar dodging this ban is ridiculous and bad for world and Pakistani cricket.

Ultimately their honor is in question and their reputations tarnished. If they has served out their bans and then come back then they would have gained the respect of international cricket and no one would question them further. As it is now, every game they play will carry the taint of doping whether it was done intentionally or not.

Posted by Omer Admani on (July 11, 2007, 6:30 GMT)

Javed Khan, This is nonsense, sorry. It is not that the whole world is conspiring against two Pakistani players so that Pakistan looses to Ireland or West Indies (and so on). Bringing WADA into this is a step further towards lunacy. The simple fact is that even if our players were cleared earlier by the CAS, they still wouldn't have played in the World Cup as the ICC would have target tested regardless.

Posted by Richard on (July 9, 2007, 17:01 GMT)

Awas, I think you make common mistake in saying:

“What Wagg, Botham, Giddins etc took was illegal substances in most countries for which there is a punishment in law. So called “performance enhancing drugs” are not illegal but merely banned by regulatory bodies. So taking cocaine by those mentioned was definitely not “much lesser sporting offences”. If ordinary Joe Blogg can be punished for taking cocaine then sporting heroes who are supposed to set an example should infact be punished harder.”

Ask yourself two things. First, what authority, legal or moral, does a cricket board have for punishing players by enforcing country-wide laws? (though I do notice you conveniently forget to reference Spencer!) Sure, we can agree that illegal substance abuse affects the image of the game and should be strongly deterred through cricket laws, but what legal punishment did these players receive? (e.g. did the legal punishment finish their careers). What other laws should cricketers be banned for breaking – speeding, drink driving, littering? Second, ask yourself what harms the game of cricket more – recreational or performance-enhancing drug taking? If your answer is the former, and I suspect that the PCBs might be, then you’re clueless or do not care about the game of cricket. As I said before, I’ve always loved watching the talent the Pakistan team fields, regardless of any off-field antics, but for the foreseeable future I will always wonder if the next great talent had a little assistance along the way…

Posted by Awas on (July 8, 2007, 20:17 GMT)

JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA (…of North America, The World, Earth, Galaxy, Universe) but I still can’t figure out where exactly you live ;-). Sorry I am just being silly as there is nothing much to write for now, I am in that sort of mood right now. After all, one of the regulars, our good old (I don’t mean “old” literally) friend khansahab(A.A.Khan) has recently added some more letters after his name!!!

If I can borrow this from you “I am agree with you” and from someone else “100 percent” ;-) on the quality of this thread. And would add…Pak spin is definitely the best….it spins much better than other spins…and yes other than very good thoughtful pieces from usual regulars, many non Pakis cant help chipping in either, which is all well and good. Its ok…no I wasn’t seeking an apology ;-). It’s good to get people’s reactions though on what you write. On the matter of quality, your last piece putting together “chain of events” was amazing, very thorough and how it took CAS six months to decide, thought provoking.

khansahab(A.A.Khan)

Talking about Shoaib Akhtar’s obsession, it seems as though the showman that he really is, his goal is still to be remembered as a 100 mph barrier breaker. Nice though this milestone is, it would be better still if he can bowl a bit longer than just for a couple of days, once in a year.

Posted by Ali Asim - Saginaw, Michigan USA on (July 6, 2007, 18:34 GMT)

A lot have been said and written on this topic already. And I'm still puzzled in between. I support my team and my board. Their stance was somewhat correct upto some extent, but there were some rules that were exploited. Then again who does'nt do that these days, enough examples were given and dicussed. Having said all that, I still believe that Shoaib and Asif should have served that ban and if they did, they would have been playing in upcoming tournaments with no fuss and drama. Apart from all that, I do agree with Mr. Javed regarding the issue he raised about severe biase being employed by ICC regarding Asian countries. I simply cannot ignore the fact that ICC made it almost impossible for Pakistan to play this wolrd cup. Moving onto another topic, I've heard that most of our senior players have registered their discomfort regarding the appointment of "want-more" as the new coach. I think they finally see what I saw. I've already talked about this matter in my comment on that(Whatmore) blog. I'll just repeat a few of my words. He lacks professionalism, he is unfit for the job and he sold us out when asked for the job and ran after indian board just to embarass himself. His stint with Bangladesh was a complete disaster and I believe Bangladeshi players were better off with Miandad. He was successful with Srilanka only because of the high profile presence of Mr. Rana Tunga, who led Lanka like no one else did so far in the game. I hope PCB recognizes the concerns raised by our players and decides wisely. Aaqib would have been the best choice, but I guess Lawson can be a better option from the current choices. I hope Mr. Kamran writes some more of his expert views on this issue and gives us some more room to discuss it further.

Posted by khansahab(A.A.Khan) on (July 6, 2007, 12:30 GMT)

I concur with the learned Awas when he mentions about the choice of lifestyle being a personal choice in the hands of God to judge.

Speaking of lifestyle Shoaib Akhtar, after the revelation of the dropping of WADA’s appeal, is again targeting the 100 mph mark. One must ask why he wants to strain his body so much at this stage? He has already achieved that plaudit, albeit unofficially. That makes him the fastest bowler in the world although he has stern competition from people like Brett Lee and Shaun Tait.

Shoaib’s dangerous obsession with pace again evokes arguments about his commitment to the team. At his current age he should be thinking about serving his country as much as possible for whatever years of cricket left in him. I don’t think he can carry on for another four years, as he states. Since he has not got a long time left, he should think about ending his career playing as many matches for Pakistan as possible.

I again agree with Wasim Saqib when he states that Malik is lucky to benefit from the services of Asif and Shoaib. Pakistan should adopt a rotational policy as far as fast bowlers are concerned and Shoaib Akhtar should not be risked in a less important match. In fact I think Shoaib must be used intelligently against India especially, because he often loses the plot and distorts his line and length, often being smacked mercilessly by the likes of Sehwag and Tendulkar. Pakistan is lucky to have bowlers like Abdul Rauf, Mohammad Irshad, Anwar Ali, Shahid Nazir who are more than capable to perform when acting as Shoaib’s or Asif’s replacements.

People have spoken about whether performance enhancing drugs should be made legal. The idea might be sensible. There should not be any “middle way”; either drugs should be made legal or *any* performance enhancing materials should be prohibited. The reason for the abolition of this “middle way” is that, there is confusion about the permissible levels and there is also confusion about how the level (if at all) can be controlled. What has happened with Shoaib and Asif, forms a bad precedent on the rest of the world’s cricketers and cricket boards who have spotted this loophole in jurisdiction and want to exploit it. On the contrary, if performance enhancers are allowed, we may see a disproportionate increase in the level of performance by cricketers who belong to developed countries. Their health and fitness can be monitored more effectively by their health professionals and dieticians. These cricketers will also find that these performance enhancing materials are more easily accessible to them. Conversely, cricketers from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean will not be able to exploit this performance-enhancing regime as fruitfully. If we say no to any form of performance boosting materials (so as to achieve a level playing field again, as the earlier argument about a universal allowance of these boosters, attempts to achieve) then we must consider how far do we want to go ahead with this prohibition? Does it extend to energy-inducing fizzy drinks which are meant to revive you from natural tiredness or stiffness? This latter argument may seem ludicrously radical, but it is sensible in spirit. The essential question is, how far do we want to go if we implement a prohibition?

Posted by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (July 6, 2007, 5:13 GMT)

The news "CAS dismissed WADA's appeal and cleared Shoaib and Asif" is a welcoming one, since the time I have read it I was asking this question, how come it took more than SIX months for CAS to announce it publicly that it has no jurisdiction over the case of Asif and Akhtar? What was stopping them from making this announcement earlier? Shouldn't an international organization of such caliber and stature know what is within their purview or jurisdiction?

I started reading their constitution, articles, memorandum, rules and laws on their website and they have very explicitly explained about the time limit, scope and jurisdiction etc. So, how come this straight forward case was prolonged for such a long time? What is the reason behind it? Is it a conspiracy theory that was designed by the ICC and WADA i.e., to drag this issue by collaborating with CAS, so that they can keep Shoaib and Asif out of the World Cup?

I wouldn't pass a judgment on this case so soon. I want some of you to read the chain of events below which I have extracted from the case from their website under ref. CAS 2006/A/1190 WADA vs.Pakistan Cricket Board & Akhtar & Asif. I want you to read it and decide for yourself whether I am right in thinking what I am thinking or am I being paranoid and suspicious?

After the appeal from Shoaib and Asif, the PCB cleared them, which wasn't welcome by the ICC pundits, they showed their resentment towards the PCB and asked WADA to file an appeal with CAS and put these two culprits on trial. On December 21, 2006, WADA filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the decision of the PCB Appeals Committee on clearing Shoaib and Asif.

On January 05, 2007, the President of the Appeals Arbitration Division confirmed that the deadline for WADA to file its appeal brief was suspended until the question of CAS's jurisdiction had been resolved. (They all knew that CAS has no jurisdiction over this case, as the tests were not conducted by the ICC or at any of the ICC events, but it was a national event organized by the PCB. Yet, the ICC wanted this case to be taken to CAS through WADA as they cannot do it themselves.)

On January 09, 2007, WADA at its Head Quarters in Montreal, Canada agreed that the Panel should first render a partial award on the issue of CAS's jurisdiction only and then proceed accordingly by creating a panel.

On January 10, 2007, CAS invited the parties each to file a submission solely addressing the issue of CAS's jurisdiction in the case.

The CAS Panel, consisting of Mr Peter Leaver QC and Mr Jan Paulsson (as the party-appointed arbitrators) and Mr David W. Rivkin (as the President of the Panel, appointed by CAS), was duly appointed, and its constitution was notified to the parties)

On January 19, 2007, CAS, wrote to Akhtar and Asif to put them on notice of the agreement between WADA and the PCB that a CAS Panel would be appointed to decide the issue of CAS's jurisdiction. CAS provided Akhtar and Asif with a copy of the submissions and correspondence. Neither Akhtar nor Asif has taken any active role in the proceedings, as the PCB had prevented them from doing so. (very unlike of the PCB's other decisions)

On January 24, 2007 the PCB filed its submission on the issue of CAS's jurisdiction.

WADA filed its submission on the issue of CAS's jurisdiction on February 06, 2007.

The PCB filed its submission in response to WADA's submission on the issue of CAS's jurisdiction on April 12, 2007.

WADA submits that this dispute is subject to the jurisdiction of CAS, according to the terms of Article R47 of the Code of Sports-Related Arbitration (the "CAS Code"). WADA contends that, according to CAS's precedents and to the case law of the Swiss Federal Tribunal, a global reference to a document containing an arbitration clause in favour of CAS is sufficient ground to establish CAS's jurisdiction, so long as the arbitration clause is customary amongst the parties involved or with respect to the issues to be dealt with.

Therefore, the Panel shall decide the dispute according to the applicable regulations and the rules of law chosen by the parties or, in the absence of such a choice, according to the law of the country in which the federation, association or sports-related body which has issued the challenged decision is domiciled or according to the rules of law, the application of which the Panel deems appropriate. In the latter case, the Panel shall give reasons for its decision.

It is important to note that the doping tests did not occur during an ICC Event, but during a national event organized by the PCB. The terms of Article 16.1 therefore cannot create an obligation or agreement to allow appeal to CAS in these circumstances.

It is clear from the facts that the testing of Akhtar and Asif did not take place during an ICC event or under the ICC Code. Therefore, even Article 15.2 cannot provide a source of CAS jurisdiction in this case.

* In order for CAS to have jurisdiction to rule on an appeal, Article R47 of the CAS Code requires that a direct reference to CAS be contained in the statutes or regulations of the body whose decision is being appealed. * The PCB Regulations do not provide for a right of appeal to CAS. ("luckily you know") * The ICC Code does not provide for a right of appeal to CAS of decisions of the PCB Appeals Committee. * The ICC Code contains no provision which obliges the PCB to allow a right of appeal of its decisions to CAS. * If the PCB were subject to such a mandatory provision, no right of appeal to CAS would exist until the PCB amended its statutes or regulations to incorporate such a right of appeal. (imo should never do that)

* The PCB submits that, while the State of Pakistan has signed the 2003 Copenhagen Declaration, the PCB has not done so. (again, should never do that) * The fact that the Pakistan Government has signed the Declaration creates NO enforceable rights against the PCB to the benefit of WADA. Further, the terms of the Declaration do not mandate the explicit incorporation of the WADC into the Rules of the PCB. * The PCB therefore submits that the signature by the Pakistan Government of the Copenhagen Declaration does not confer jurisdiction upon WADA to appeal domestic decisions of the PCB to CAS. * There is no specific agreement between the parties to allow CAS to rule on the merits of this particular dispute. * CAS therefore, does not have jurisdiction to rule on the appeal filed by WADA in the present arbitrable proceedings. * The Panel reaches this conclusion with some considerable regret that the case of Asif and Akhtar is beyond their jurisdiction. * It is the responsibility of the ICC to ensure that its members promulgate anti-doping rules which are consistent with the WADC, and which enable either the ICC or its member or WADA to appeal against what might be termed “rogue” decisions.

So my friends & foes doesn't it look like the whole case was cooked? They all knew that there is NO case and from the very beginning I was saying that they have NO case and they are trying to delay the process......click on the link below and read my post: December 24, 2006 1:28 PM. Point number 4 which says: "4. Apparently, at ICC's instigation they (WADA) are appealing it and trying to go to the arbitrator. This is only a ploy to delay the process so that the players are kept away from playing the world cup 2007."

http://blogs.cricinfo.com/pakspin/archives/2006/12/wada_yadda_yadda.php#comments

Six months ago, it was my opinion or my understanding of the situation BUT now, as the time has unfolded the events the truth has come out in black and white and its not different from what I had thought or understood it, so now it looks more like a fact and now I believe that it was indeed a conspiracy theory! A conspiracy to keep Asif and Shoaib out of the World Cup! Mr. Kamran Abbassi you are wrong, the ultimite winner is the ICC. Shouldn't we all congratulate them?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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