Dubai: In a bid to secure cricket from the banned substances, the International Cricket Council (ICC) today approved a firmer and more practical anti-doping code.
The code, which comes into effect from January 1 next year, was recently given unanimous approval by all members of the ICC Board, indicating the overwhelming level of support the code has within the ICC membership.
The adoption of this strengthened ICC Anti-Doping Code coincides with the amendment of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, making sure that cricket plays its part in the global fight against drugs in sport.
Consistent with the WADA Code, the new ICC Anti-Doping Code gives more flexibility to any hearing panel appointed in terms of the sanctions and penalties that may be imposed against players who test positive for a banned substance.
Critically, it also means that international cricketers must be available for testing at any time, any day of the year, whether it is at ICC events, bilateral series or even out of competition.
''The ICC has a zero-tolerance approach to doping in cricket and this new code serves to reinforce that position,'' ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.
''This code means it has just become even harder for drug cheats to get away with doping practices and it is part of our continued battle to ensure fair competition for all,'' he added.
''The code is a living document which is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of cricket and modern sport in general. To this end, and in line with best practice, the ICC has conducted a comprehensive consultation process for the practical review and fine-tuning of the code's provisions.
''We are grateful to our Members and other stakeholders for their input and we are encouraged by the full support the Members have shown in approving its implementation,'' he said.
''We must never become complacent when it comes to protecting our sport against drug cheats. We have recognised the threat and we have done something about it. This is a big step forward for everyone who wants to maintain clean and fair competition in cricket,'' he added.
The ICC became a signatory of WADA in July 2006 and has been testing at its events since 2002. In that time, there has not been a positive test at an ICC event.
In line with the provisions of the code, the ICC will establish a doping hearing panel from which three people will be selected to sit as an anti-doping tribunal from time to time in order to determine whether an anti-doping rule violation has been committed.
The chairperson of the tribunal is required to be legally qualified while the others on the tribunal will have legal, medical or technical expertise with specific experience in anti-doping matters. Each member of the doping hearing panel shall be independent of the ICC.
In a further move aimed at bolstering the anti-doping movement in the sport of cricket, the ICC has also recently circulated a template anti-doping code for all of its Members to adopt in order to help them to govern anti-doping matters at a domestic level in a consistent and WADA Code-compliant manner.