ICC anti-doping policy September 19, 2009

Indian government reiterates support for WADA

Cricinfo staff

The Indian government has informed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that it backs the agency's anti-doping code, including the controversial 'whereabouts' clause, a senior Indian official has claimed.

WADA had earlier written to the Indian government asking whether it supported the Indian cricketers, who had rejected the anti-doping code in its present form.

Rahul Bhatnagar, director-general of India's National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), said WADA had already been told of the government's stand in a letter. "The Government and National Anti-Doping Agency stand fully committed to WADA Code including the provisions related to International Standards of Testing and 'whereabouts' clause," Bhatnagar, who is also joint secretary in the sports ministry, said. "We have informed WADA that there is no change in the position of Government of India in so far as implementation of anti-doping rules adopted by NADA.

"India's stand now and before has been the same. There is no compromise when it comes to doping in sport," he said. "In respect to the issue raised by BCCI regarding 'whereabouts' clause we have repeatedly been asking BCCI about the advice they have sought in this matter. But we have not got any response either from BCCI nor from elsewhere as to what exactly was that opinion."

He also said that the 'whereabouts' clause had been accepted by NADA and that it had been approved by the Indian government.

The ICC implemented the new WADA code from January 1 and that included a clause which mandated cricketers nominated to an international testing pool to reveal to an ICC-nominated officer before every quarter details of their location for an hour every day for the next three months to facilitate out-of-competition testing.

This whereabouts system was to start from August 1 but was stalled after the 11 Indian cricketers in the pool, including Sachin Tendulkar, refused to reveal the required information citing security and privacy concerns. The BCCI has backed the players in this issue and even sought the opinion of two top legal authorities in the country to firm up its stand. It is believed that the BCCI now has significant support from other ICC full members on this issue.