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His master’s voice: ICC speaks to BCCI on WADA

by RajaB

At Bored we have covered the WADA conundrum from day one. This is probably one place where you saw many perspectives on the issue, the people for it & against. There were the diplomats too. However, there was one vital cog missing in this coverage. What does the master have to say? Doubt the master, ICC commented on this issue. At Bored we wanted to hear the master’s voice, not only the voice but the master’s thoughts on the issue of doping and the anti-doping regime in cricket.

We sent them an elaborate questionnaire, which covered a variety of doping related issues. From WADA to Mohd Asif to starting their own anti-doping body. Many thanks to ICC and Mr James Fitzgerald for obliging our many requests and also to Mr Sami-Ul-Hasan, both from the Media & Communications department of the ICC.

What is ICC’s position on WADA? Are you still a signatory?

Yes.

What about the “Whereabouts” clause?

That particular element of the code is on hold while a resolution is sought.

While they say that the clause has been put on hold, their website still has the complete range of forms and information about the “Whereabouts” clause. So for someone who goes to the ICC website it may seem that the ICC are still compliant to the “Whereabouts” clause. This is actually not the case.

Is that mandatory that once you sign with WADA you need to comply with the “Whereabouts” clause?

We are attempting to find a workable solution that satisfies all parties.

One thought the ICC could have been a bit more elaborate answering this question. But I am sure the ICC wants a consensus among its stakeholders before they spell their position out.

We have read / heard enough that BCCI is not too happy with the “Whereabouts” clause. There also have been reports of other boards supporting BCCI’s position. Could you elaborate on what the consensus is right now?

There have been reservations expressed about the filing of “whereabouts” information. All the other elements of the ICC Anti-Doping Code remain in place including in and out-of-competition testing. The consensus right now is that all parties are committed to a zero-tolerance approach to drugs in sport and there is a desire to find a solution to the difficulties being experienced.

“Desire to find a solution”, it might mean that we shouldn’t expect any decision on the anti-doping code anytime soon. So we need to see how long it takes for the anti-doping code to jump out of the boardroom into practice.

BCCI is not governed by the Indian government, but there are other boards that are. What would be the implications of this standoff when it comes to them?

I don’t know. Perhaps the individual boards could help you there.

Bored would now try and reaching out to the individual boards and get their views.

Olympic sports comply to WADA in its full form, if a Michael Phelps, Roger Federer, Abhinav Bindra et al can tell their “Whereabouts” how different do you think the cricketers are?

That discussion will form part of the debate as we seek to resolve the issue.

What can we say ? Let us only hope that the debate happens anytime soon and the issue is resolved.

Bored and the cricket world can only wish goodluck to the ICC.

There are talks about the ICC starting its own anti-drug body, what is the latest on this?

I am not aware of talks about that.

It is clear from the answer that the ICC is not looking at starting its own anti-doping body. As we mentioned in Bored earlier, this is a paper tiger that BCCI unleashes every time there is any talk about WADA. So that brings us to a very vital question, is the BCCI serious about the anti-drug regime ?

Let us hope the BCCI does something credible to answer this question satisfactorily.

We saw Shane Warne, Shoaib Akhtar & Mohd. Asif. Then Mohd. Asif was caught in the UAE in a much more serious situation. We have also seen the cricket world’s reaction to those acts by these known names. They are back in action, they are playing now. Given this scenario, (a) we want to know how serious the ICC is dealing with this menace of drugs in sports. (b) What is the guarantee that the anti-drug body that ICC is planning to form wouldn’t by driven by vote politics amongst its member nations rather than preventing drugs in the great game of cricket?

a) the ICC has a zero-tolerance approach to drugs in cricket. We conduct in-competition testing at all our events and out-of-competition testing at other times. We work closely with WADA and our member boards to ensure that cricket remains clean.

b) I am not aware of any anti-doping body being set up by the ICC.

We got back to the ICC asking for some clarifications on 8a. We wanted to know about the ICC’s seriousness about the Mohd. Asif episode. What their position is about him being a repeat offender ? We were a bit disappointed by their response that Asif has never failed an ICC drug test and that he is eligible to play as he has served his sentence.

We fail to understand what they mean by an ICC drugs test. He failed a test at IPL, isn’t IPL an ICC sanctioned event ? if it is a sanctioned event then is not a test conducted during that event an ICC drug test ?

This one place where one doubts about the ICC’s intentions. What exactly is the ICC’s position about doping and the anti-doping regime?

We read reports that the PCB has asked ICC to assist for getting Mohd. Asif into the UAE to play cricket. Our understanding is that he is banned from entering this country for live because of his past records. What is ICC’s position on this? If ICC does help PCB then would it not send wrong signals in terms of ICC’s fight against drugs in the game?

I cannot comment on that because it is a UAE police/immigration matter.

We feel that the ICC has not responded to our query. The question we asked was straight forward, we asked them if they would help the PCB with respect to getting a UAE visa for Asif. We asked this question because there were many reports and the officials of PCB were quoted as to asking ICC’s assistance on this matter.

We fail to understand how this could be a UAE police / immigration matter at this point in time.

How did the ICC sign-up for the WADA regulations first place? Weren’t the member nations consulted? Didn’t the member nations see a draft of the regulations? What was the BCCI’s position at that point in time?

The ICC Anti-Doping Code was approved by all Full Members of the ICC last year and it came into effect on 1 January. There was a full consultation process that took place before and since then.

It is interesting to note that all the full members were aware of what WADA and its regime would mean. In fact it is clear that they approved the move by the ICC to comply the WADA regulations. So it is quite funny why they should make a U turn after almost an year.

With cricket becoming lucrative with IPL etc. the cricketer these days is always under pressure to be at the pink of both his fitness and form. Given this scenario of cricket becoming a money tree that bears fruit 365 days a year, the players might be driven to other means that could enhance their performance. What are your thoughts on this? What is ICC’s position on the taxing workload (or should it be playload) of the international cricketer of today?

As we have said many times before, it is necessary to find the right balance.

We hope the ICC find the right balance and resolve this WADA standoff. Let us hope the individual cricket boards take this menace of drugs in the game seriously and work earnestly towards a solution.

6 comments:

kissmycricket said...

Some good questions there. I don't think Mr James let on much did he?

It's all way too ambiguous. This matter with the UAE is especially interesting, haven't heard much about it at all.

Cricket Tragic said...

Just got the feeling that he liked to keep stuff 'short and sweet'!

Really, all those answers just raise more questions than answers...

scorpicity said...

Great Work Raja!

The ICC's response is next to be being useless though.

achettup said...

Nice work RajaB... A couple of things:
We fail to understand what they mean by an ICC drugs test. He failed a test at IPL, isn’t IPL an ICC sanctioned event ? if it is a sanctioned event then is not a test conducted during that event an ICC drug test ?
I'm struggling to understand what you mean by an ICC sanctioned event. The IPL is a BCCI sanctioned event that tries to be compliant with ICC regulations, but apart from maybe having the ICC's blessings, I don't think they ever asked for the tournament to be formally sanctioned by the ICC. Please correct me if I have understood this incorrectly.
It is interesting to note that all the full members were aware of what WADA and its regime would mean. In fact it is clear that they approved the move by the ICC to comply the WADA regulations. So it is quite funny why they should make a U turn after almost an year.
To me, this points at either a lack of communication between the board and players (the nonexistence of a formal player's body in India can be seen as a contributing factor) or an incomplete and inaccurate assessment of the initial proposal.
My personal opinion is that as things stand, WADA's position is unnecessarily intrusive and seems to point to a reluctance to invest in research to make their system more efficient because they know they can hide behind the "if you don't agree you must have something to hide" argument and therefore inconvenience athletes if it means sticking to their current unfortunate methodology.

straight point said...

well done raja... now if only icc were more forthcoming...

RajaB said...

Thanks everyone for your comments !!

@Achettup: If a formal sanction means inclusion in the FTP, then I agree that I am wrong in saying so.

My POV is that when you get all the ICC officials (although they are paid by IPL) to come in, it is a sanctioned event at best or a tournament that has the ICC's blessings at worst...

Either ways once you have sanctioned or blessed an event it is your moral obligation to make sure everything goes right there. When I say everything I am not talking about organisation but about larger issues such as doping and control which would have repercussions on an ICC game too.

So to say, Asif was caught in IPL so they (IPL & PCB) take decisons on punishment and we wouldn't interfere is like saying "Oh but he only stole next door, why should I run and catch him ?". You could term this bureaucratic to be soft or deplorable behavior to be on the face.

On your second point... I would suggest you read my previous posts on WADA again and also visit WADA's website for more information. You might then realise that this is not intrusive and they are not reluctant researching.

My question is rather simple, how come WADA is intrusive only for your Sachin's & Dhoni's when there are hundreds of other great athletes and sportsmen and women who see it as something that helps providing a level playing field ??

That was one of my questions to the ICC, how different are the cricketers ?

On your point on the communication or the lack of it between the board and its players, I would only say it is a pity...