Sydney: A day ahead of the dope case hearing that would determine the future of Australian leg spinner Shane Warne's career, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday made it clear that it had no power to intervene in the case. The ICC cannot intervene, regardless of the outcome of Warne's hearing by the ACB, because the spinner was tested before the World Cup, in Melbourne by the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA).
"The ICC could not act in this case because it would be retrospective and we don't have the power to do that," an ICC spokesman said. However, the ICC was happy with ACB's handling of the high-profile case. "The ACB notified the ICC as soon as it was aware of the player testing positive and withdrew him from the tournament. The ICC commends the ACB for the rapid response," the spokesman said. The ICC does not have an anti-doping policy in place but introduced drug regulations for the ongoing World Cup under which random testing of players from all countries are being carried out. ICC said the current policy would be the basis for a long-term policy "but there is no time frame as yet".
"There are indications that this is the first step towards all countries introducing a drugs policy," the spokesman was quoted as saying on an Australian Website. Only five of the 10 Test-playing nations have anti-doping policies - Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan, which introduced a programme just before the World Cup. India, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have no such policies. Meanwhile, the ACB defended the controversial exceptional circumstances clause in its drug policy, which gives Warne a glimmer of hope to escape a ban if he can prove that he took the tablet without knowing it contained a banned diuretic.
ACB's general manager of public affairs Peter Young said it was important to have the clause (4.5b) in case a player tests positive in "exceptional" circumstances, for example if he is given banned drugs when he is unconscious in hospital or has his drink spiked. "The player held an honest and reasonable belief in a state of facts, which if they exist, would mean that the player did not commit a doping offence," the clause reads.
"The exceptional circumstances are in there because of the concern that there are rare occasions where it would be a denial of natural justice where circumstances beyond an athlete's control had resulted in a breach or ingestion of a prohibited substance," Young said.