Whereabouts rule is not justified claims top cricket official
Thursday, 15 March 2012
March 15 - Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) legal director Ian Smith (pictured) has launched an attack on the World Anti-Doping Code here.
Smith was speaking on a panel debating the athlete's perspective on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, which is currently under review.
He had particularly harsh words for the "whereabouts" system by which athletes reveal where they are for one hour every day and make themselves available at that time for a drug's test, via the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS).
The system has been criticised previously, including by tennis star Rafa Nadal, though WADA defend it on the basis of the surprise effect and the possibility of it taking place on any day of the year.
"The justification for the whereabouts system lies in no notice out-of-competition testing," Smith began.
"What we need to know is whether no notice out-of-competition testing is even effective.
"This is where there is a gigantic hole because it is definitely perceived wisdom that if someone will cheat they will do it at home.
"I'm not saying that is not the case but we have no evidence because the reporting provided to WADA is simply not happening.
"The lack of statistical evidence is alarming.
"It's shocking [that] we're in a situation where the underpinning of the bit of the code that really gets up athletes' noses has no foundation.
"So let's look at that and create a decent reporting structure, gathering evidence and justify whereabouts.
"At the moment there is no justification."
Smith added that "of course you need deterrence, people are going to cheat," but went on to continue his attack on the WADA Code, saying that it was weighted unfairly against athletes.
"Surely it is not the [best system] for athletes," he insisted.
"The whole system is weighed in favour of the police and against the athlete for the convenience of who?
"Who does this system exist for?
"We can protect athletes with a sophisticated specified substance system which draws a clear and easy distinction between both the intention to cheat and benefit of the doping.
"But the why is it for the athlete to prove that there isn't one (an intention to cheat)?
"A man can commit the most heinous crime in front of the world on television and still gets a fair shot at trying to prove he is not guilty and it does not apply to athletes just trying to make their living.
"I find it strange."
August 2011: Exclusive - There will be no exception for FIFA over whereabouts claim WADA
August 2010: Exclusive - FIFA refuse to back down on WADA whereabouts rule
December 2009: Ban lifted on Belgian star for violating whereabouts rule
May 2009: WADA confirm hardline approach on whereabouts rule
April 2009: EU wants WADA to look at whereabouts rule again