The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has shown its anger on Tuesday after the approval by the US Senate of the so-called ‘Rodchenkov law’, which “disturbs the global legal framework for the fight against doping”, protects “extraterritoriality” and It does, however, exclude players from the professional and university leagues from its own provisions.
This anti-doping legislation, baptized with the surname of the Russian who acted as a confidant to uncover the Russian plot, was approved on Monday by the Senate, after receiving the approval of the House of Representatives in 2019, and now only requires the signature of the president of the United States to take effect.
“WADA supports governments that use their legislative powers to protect athletes in the fight against doping in sport. However, while recognizing some positive elements of this legislation, WADA and other stakeholders continue to believe that certain aspects very important provisions of the law will have unforeseen consequences and disrupt the global legal framework to combat doping, recognized to date by 190 nations, including the United States, through the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport “, stresses the Agency in a statement.
“WADA and many other organizations representing governments and sports around the world, including the Council of Europe, the International Olympic Committee and various anti-doping organizations, have raised concerns about the issue of the extraterritoriality of the law, as it it will undermine the fight against doping around the world. “
The law allows a fine of up to one million dollars and punish up to ten years in prison to those involved in doping matters in competitions disputed anywhere in the world, if they participate in sportsmen, sponsors or the US media. Doped athletes are not sanctioned by this legislation.
The professional and university leagues of basketball, baseball or hockey, which were in principle included in the law, were later outside its scope. “No nation has ever asserted its criminal jurisdiction over doping crimes occurring outside its national borders before, and with good reason,” WADA says.
“This is likely to result in an overlap of laws in different jurisdictions that will compromise the existence of a single set of anti-doping rules for all sports under the World Anti-Doping Code. This will have negative consequences, as the harmonization of the rules It is the core of the world anti-doping system, “says the Agency to explain its point of view.
“WADA remains concerned that by unilaterally exercising the criminal jurisdiction of the United States over all doping activities globally, the law is likely to undermine fair sport, by jeopardizing fundamental cooperation between nations.” he adds.
According to the body, if other countries decide to adopt similar legislation and “subject the citizens and sports organizations of the United States to extraterritorial jurisdictions”, this practice could be used to skew the fight against doping with political or discriminatory motivations.
In the same statement, the president of the WADA, the Polish Witold Banka, asks in an ironic tone “why this US legislation, which aims to protect athletes and claims jurisdiction abroad, specifically excludes the enormously popular and influential professional and college leagues. “
“Nearly half a million athletes compete in college sports in the United States and thousands more do so in professional leagues. These leagues were originally included in the Act, but were later eliminated without explanation. Why are those around athletes of these associations and leagues are now exempt from the scope of this legislation? If it is not good enough for American sports, why is it imposed on the rest of the world? “, indicates Banka.
The president of WADA points out, however, that they will try to “collaborate with the authorities of the United States in the application of this legislation” to ensure that the global anti-doping system “is not altered”, that the ability to Agency investigation “is not diminished” and that “the negative repercussions of this law are minimized.”