Grigory Rodchenkov has reacted positively to the US announcement ©Netflix

Grigory Rodchenkov has welcomed the introduction of a bill named after him in the House of Representatives which would establish criminal penalties for doping offences affecting US athletes and companies at international sports competitions.

The former Moscow Laboratory director fled Russia in 2015 and provided much of the evidence that led to the country being banned from competing under their own flag at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in February.

It is claimed that the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act (RADA) would establish criminal penalties for knowingly manufacturing, distributing and using performance enhancing drugs.

This would apply to all major international competitions in which US athletes or organisations participate, with the aim of ensuring "international fraud" against Americans will not go unpunished.

The bill states that penalties will include fines of up to $1 million (£750,000/€850,000) or imprisonment of up to 10 years, depending on the offence.

A further part of the act would see the establishment of a private civil right of action for doping fraud.

"It is both gratifying and humbling to see the introduction of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act in the House of Representatives today," said Rodchenkov. 

"I would like to thank Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Michael Burgess, and the rest of the Helsinki Commission for taking the time to hear about my role in the Russian doping scandal that marred the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"Although doping continues to pervade international athletic competitions, I am encouraged that the US Congress has chosen to protect clean athletes and fair sport. 

"This bill stands to correct a broken and corrupt system, and I sincerely hope that other Members of Congress will support this endeavour."

Grigory Rodchenkov and his lawyer Jim Walden met with the Helsinki Commission in March ©Helsinki Commission
Grigory Rodchenkov and his lawyer Jim Walden met with the Helsinki Commission in March ©Helsinki Commission

It remains to be seen what influence the new act will have on international sport, but investigations by US authorities have uncovered major corruption scandals in FIFA and other football bodies.

It is claimed the RADA would give clean athletes and organisations the ability to pursue civil action against the sanctioned athlete.

Cases would be aimed at helping individuals recoup medals or financial rewards they would have been deprived of by the offender.

The act would also give the US power to obtain foreign evidence in doping cases, with the US Attorney General being given the ability to help the Department of Justice to achieve this.

"Fraudulent and unethical behavior in sports is an issue we as a global society can no longer tolerate," added Rodchenkov's lawyer, Jim Walden.

"A law that establishes a collective understanding that cheaters, and those encouraging them, could face jail time will have a meaningful impact on how we treat each other on and off the field of competition. 

"Honesty and transparency in sports should not be a partisan issue and I would strongly encourage our lawmakers to read and adopt the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act which criminalises doping in sports."