By Duncan Mackay

World Anti-doping Code May 13 2013May 12 - A doubling in the length of bans from two to four years for athletes who fail drugs tests for the first time has been confirmed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) following  meetings of its Executive Committee and Foundation Board in Montreal.

The decision is now set to be confirmed when the World Anti-Doping Code is presented to stakeholders at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg on November 12-15.

In addition to increasing the number of years a player can be banned from two to four, the agency also wants to punish the athlete's accomplices - such as coaches and teammates.

The updates follow a two-year consultation process, which ended in March.

There have been nearly 4,000 individual comments on the Code and international standards, WADA claimed.

"WADA values the input of these stakeholders and is pleased with the level of their engagement throughout the review process," said John Fahey, President of WADA.

"The Agency continually seeks to enhance the framework that supports the anti-doping system, and revisions depend on these contributions."

John Fahey and David Howman WADA meeting Montreal May 13 2013WADA President John Fahey and director general David Howman discuss the proposed new World Anti-Doping Code during a meeting in Montreal

Besides longer bans for athletes who have been found guilty of deliberately cheating, other proposals include more flexibility in sanctioning in other specific circumstances.

"It says to cheats: 'We're going to get you and deal with you even more effectively than we have in the past'," said Fahey.

"We're in business to protect the overwhelming majority of clean athletes around the world.

"The way you protect clean athletes and support them is to deal properly and effectively with the cheats."

The new code is due to come into effect in 2015.

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