The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) today asked the ICC to give a final push to convince its member boards to accept the contentious whereabouts clause by November 2011, failing which it would be declared non-compliant to the WADA code.
"We don't set deadlines. Being a signatory, we expect the ICC and cricket to remain committed to the WADA Code. The ICC has done a lot in the last three years, now they just need to give the final push," WADA director general David Howman told reporters.
The whereabouts clause requires cricketers to furnish details of their location three months in advance. India's cricketers, backed by the BCCI, rejected the WADA code because of this clause, saying it represented a violation of privacy and a security threat. Howman said that it was up to the ICC to convince BCCI and other member boards ahead of the November 2011 deadline.
"The ICC is responsible for its member boards. ICC's job is to ensure that member boards comply with the WADA Code. We are going to have our next review in November 2011 and by that time if ICC fails to convince its member boards to comply with the Code, we will declare them non-compliant in our report to the International Olympic Committee. We don't have the purview to take actions against any non-complaint member, it is IOC and respective Olympic Council's prerogative," Howman said.
Howman defended the whereabouts clause with the logic that India's cricketers were on the road for a major part of the year, during which their whereabouts were public knowledge, and hence disclosing the same for the remaining days in the year was not a security threat.
"Let me say 'why', and I don't identify any one player here. But if I were living in this country, I would know where these players were, probably, for 250 days a year. So, if it's going to be a security issue for 250 days of a year, I know how to breach that security because I know where they are. So if this information is pertaining to the other 115 days (of the year), where's the breach?" he asked.
Howman also hit out at Indian cricketers who sought to take refuge in Indian constitution's 'freedom to privacy' clause. "If I tend to the issue of the (Indian) constitution, that's nonsense. There's no breach of the Indian constitution in acquiring the 'whereabouts' information. I just think it's a red-herring and the red-herring should be caught, dried, smoked and eaten. And then we get rid of it," he said.
Cricket is set to make its debut in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, and pending acceptance of the code, India's participation in the event could be under jeopardy. Howman said it would be up to the Olympic Council of Asia to take a call on the issue.
Howman insisted that the whereabouts clause was not an infringement on privacy, citing the example of the large number of professional sportspeople who have accepted it. "More than 13,000 athletes are giving their whereabouts, so it is not a big deal. There are no constitutional problems, no breach of privacy but I will be more than happy to engage in discussion with cricketers," he said.
"We will ask BCCI to liaise with the National Anti-Doping Agency to form an anti-doping programme fit for India. Anil Kumble is a member of WADA and understands the rule. He is not concerned by it," Howman said.