US President Donald Trump signed the Rodchenkov Act into law last week ©Getty Images

Other countries should implement laws similar to the Rodchenkov Act to prevent repeats of the Russian scandal and protect sport across the world, United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive Travis Tygart has claimed.

The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, which gives US officials the power to prosecute individuals for doping schemes at international sports competitions involving American athletes, sponsors and companies, was signed into law by outgoing President Donald Trump last week.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has expressed opposition to the legislation, which it claims represents extra-territoriality from the US and cited the fact that it does not cover professional athletes in the US in sports such as baseball, basketball and ice hockey as a concern.

Tygart rejected the claims from WADA, insisting the act was a way for US companies and sponsors to "protect their investment in sport".

The USADA chief also described references from the global watchdog to the professional leagues in the US as "another attack on the US for political purposes", claiming there are a "whole host of reasons" why they are not signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code - which he said "railroads" athletes.

"We should all join together and help implement [the act]," Tygart told insidethegames.

"I don’t think there are issues, there has to be US Government or company money involved for it to be enacted, and hopefully it is never used.

"The act gives the US the power to hold people accountable and to protect sport from some of the bad actors that are involved.

"We would love for other countries to pass similar laws, so that their investment in sport is also protected."

Tygart also insisted USADA and other supporters of the act were not concerned it would be held up by the Presidential transition from Trump to Republican President-elect Joe Biden.

"The act has always had broad bipartisan support, and we all felt the administration would fully support it," he added.

USADA chief executive Travis Tygart believes versions of the Rodchenkov Act should be implemented in more countries ©Getty Images
USADA chief executive Travis Tygart believes versions of the Rodchenkov Act should be implemented in more countries ©Getty Images

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) welcomed the act - named after whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, who helped expose the state-sponsored doping scheme orchestrated by Russia at major sports events - being signed into law.

"The passage of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act demonstrates the importance of the ongoing fight against cheating in international sport," said USOPC chief executive Sarah Hirshland. 

"Having a fair and effective international anti-doping programme is vital to ensuring that the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of competition are upheld. 

"We appreciate Congress’ efforts to address such injustices, and we are committed to supporting the continuing development of international tools and initiatives needed to root out fraud, identify bad actors, and help to ensure integrity in global sport."

The passing of the act comes amid a protracted dispute between WADA and the US after the country threatened to pull its global anti-doping funding earlier this year.

WADA did not offer any additional comment on the legislation and referred to an earlier statement from President Witold Bańka.

"We join other stakeholders around the globe in asking why this US legislation, which purports to protect athletes and claims jurisdiction overseas, specifically excludes the hugely popular and influential professional and college leagues," Bańka said.

"Nearly half a million athletes compete in US college sports, and thousands more in the professional leagues. 

"These leagues were originally included in the act but were subsequently removed without explanation. 

"Why are those who surround the athletes in these associations and leagues now exempt from the scope of this legislation? 

"If it is not good enough for American sports, why is it being imposed on the rest of the world?

"While the act was passed without consultation with international anti-doping partners, WADA will seek to work with US authorities on implementing this legislation to ensure that the global anti-doping system, which has evolved for 20 years in close collaboration with the US, is not upended, that WADA's mandated investigative capacity is not diminished, and that the negative impact of this act is minimised."

WADA President Witold Bańka has consistenyly outlined his opposition to the Rodchenkov Act ©Twitter
WADA President Witold Bańka has consistenyly outlined his opposition to the Rodchenkov Act ©Twitter

In a statement, the IOC said: "The IOC underlines the fact that the legislation focuses on the athletes’ “entourage”. 

"This is in line with IOC policy, because past history in the fight against doping has seen a recurring pattern of networks around the athletes implicated in most cases of doping. 

"Such networks can include coaches, agents, dealers, managers, officials from Governments or sports organisations, doctors, physiotherapists and others. 

"The athletes themselves already face sanctions, with long-term suspensions under the terms of the World Anti-Doping Code. 

"We need to apply the same strict sanctions to their entourage members, and in this respect this legislation will be helpful.

"In this context, the IOC continues to encourage the US professional leagues, in which the most popular American athletes play, and the US college sports organisation, from which the vast majority of the most successful US athletes come, to apply the World Anti-Doping Code. 

"Unfortunately, they are exempt from this new act, and they have so far not accepted the World Anti-Doping Code."