In August of 2019, the news broke out that cricket was one of the only sports that had not yet announced compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency. The ICC had been lobbying for this chance to comply with WADA but it was unable to do so because of the stance taken by BCCI against the proposition. Once BCCI reversed its stance it was then just a formality to comply with the requirements of the WADA which at the national level made the BCCI compliant with the rules of the National Anti-Doping Agency. This blog piece is going to divulge into the conditions set by WADA and NADA, the reasons for the non-compliance stance taken by BCCI, and the consequences of taking this step by ICC.
RULES AND REGULATIONS OF WADA AND NADA INDIA
WADA was established in the year 1999 to be an international body that finds its manpower and funding from sports movements and the government of the world.1 The National Anti-Doping Agency is the national organization responsible for promoting, coordinating, and monitoring the doping control program in sports in all its forms in India.2 The World Anti-Doping Agency code is created by WADA for two particular reasons.
- Defend the Athletes’ fundamental right to be able to compete in sports that are doping-free and thus endorse well-being, fairness of competition, and equal chance for winning the sport with only one’s talent and skill.
- To make sure that there is a legal framework at the international and national levels to avert the use of doping agents
All the international stakeholders have to adhere to the code and international standards. The code’s application is made in the spirit of rule of law and therefore the provisions in the code must be followed by all international stakeholders. It has complied with respect in the light of principles of proportionality and human rights. National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) was set up as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act of 1860 on November 24, 2005, with a mandate for Dope free sports in India.3 NADA also has the National Anti-Doping Rules, 2021 which is revised according to the World Anti-Doping Rules, 2021. Together they form the framework that regulates the prevention of doping in sports across the country.
REASONS FOR BCCI NOT COMPLYING INITIALLY
BCCI has been opposed to complying with the NADA for quite some time now. They didn’t want to comply with it as they felt it was not a National Sports Federation that was not funded in any way by the Government, therefore, considering it an autonomous body and not allowing it to conduct tests.3 They also had a concern about the quality of the dope testing kits. They were worried about how much expertise the pathologists employed by NADA had in conducting such testing. BCCI was assured by NADA that there will be proper care and caution taken in trying to test the players involved.
The biggest contention in complying was the ‘whereabouts clause’ of NADA. This clause mandates players to be available for surprise testing. It involves filling up a declaration form where the player can disclose 3 dates, they are available to be tested throughout the year when they are not playing. These are the dates when they have to be available to the Dope Control Officer to collect his sample. Sanctions can be placed on the individual who will not appear for the same. Andre Russell a player who plays for the West Indies was banned for a year by the Jamaican Anti-Doping agency for not reporting for tests.
EXPLANATION OF BCCI’S CHANGE INSTANCE
Prithvi Shaw a cricketer who plays in the IPL and at the time was training in the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy was found to have Terbutaline in his system. It is a substance that is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency under class 3 of substances Beta 2 Agonists.5 Questions were raised when it was found that BCCI knew about the positive report before action was taken against him.
After this incident came to light the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports aggressively pushed for BCCI to come under the ambit of NADA’s regulations. BCCI has been resisting the transition ever since the Government notified about the formation of the NADA. After 2006 became a signatory to WADA but BCCI didn’t have a doping system until 2009. It tried to keep things under its control by contacting an independent agency then it was not going to be long before the NADA was able to win the battle supported by the Ministry.
ROAD AHEAD FOR CRICKET AND BCCI
This is the step in the right direction as there is a need for the game to have a robust anti-doping system that can weed out any such instances. BCCI is the largest cricket board in the world and therefore has a huge amount of influence in the administration of Cricket. Therefore, its non-compliance with WADA had kept the sport from completing the requirements to be qualified as an Olympic sport. Now ICC is targeting the Los Angeles Olympics of 2028 to try and include sport.
While BCCI has become compliant with the revised WADA Code 2021 from January 2021 onwards. It needs to stop being an agency for this change as it helps the sport to be cleaner and fairer for the players. NADA needs to be more vigilant and stricter with its role in the sport. If these conditions are met then Cricket might go to more countries as the Olympics is the best advertisement for the sport.
Author’s Name: Jerin Abraham (Christ Academy Institute of Law)
- Who We Are Section of WADA https://www.wada-ama.org/en/who-we-are
- Official Website of NADA https://www.nadaindia.org/
- About us Section of the Official Website of NADA https://www.nadaindia.org/en/about-us
- India: BCCI Comes Under the Ambit Of NADA; ICC Finally A WADA Compliant, But What Next? By Sudhansu Sahoo (August 2020) https://www.mondaq.com/india/sport/919322/bcci-comes-under-the-ambit-of-nada-icc-finally-a-wada-compliant-but-what-next#:~:text=The%20BCCI%20had%20strongly%20opposed,NADA%20to%20test%20its%20players.
- Article 2.4 of NADA rules 2021
- World Anti-Doping Code International Standard Prohibited List 2022 https://www.mondaq.com/india/sport/919322/bcci-comes-under-the-ambit-of-nada-icc-finally-a-wada-compliant-but-what-next#:~:text=The%20BCCI%20had%20strongly%20opposed,NADA%20to%20test%20its%20players.