Doping crisis set to continue December 24, 2006

Former anti-doping head says bowlers still face ban


Both are back, but for how long? © AFP

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) may be able to reinforce the ban against doping-tainted Pakistani pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, the anti-doping head of the first tribunal said.

"According to the WADA code they can apply for provisional suspension," barrister Shahid Hamid told AFP, quashing suggestions the pair were now in the clear.

Hamid headed the three-member Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) tribunal which last month banned Akhtar for two years and Asif for one year, after the new-ball pair tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone.

Both bans were overturned by a committee headed by a retired high court judge earlier this month, which ruled the pair had not been fully educated about doping matters. As a result, the PCB insisted the doping case was closed and that any action by WADA or the International Cricket Council (ICC) would not stop the pacemen from playing. Akhtar and Asif were included in their preliminary squad for next month's tour of South Africa.

However, Hamid said Pakistan was obliged to follow WADA rules. "It is a fact that the Pakistan government signed the Copenhagen declaration in 2003, like other 186 governments, including 38 countries in Asia," he said. "The Pakistan government has paid to WADA the annual and subscription fee for the years 2006 and 2007.

"This declaration, through culture and sports ministries, binds us to follow the WADA codes and under clause 13 of their codes, the WADA has the right of appeal against the decision of a national anti-doping commission whether it is done during the competition or out of competition."

WADA last week challenged the lifting of the bans in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, saying any overturning was against its code, a stance backed by the ICC. CAS was expected to hear the case in the new year.

Hamid also disagreed that Akhtar's decision not to sign a contract with the PCB could give him any leeway. "Akhtar has not signed the latest contract, but he has signed an identical contract before and that contract in its provision is identical and under clause 3 of the contract he was bound not only by the PCB but by the ICC anti-doping policies as well," he added.

Hamid, however, refused to comment on the decision to exonerate the players. "It is now for the CAS to decide," he said.