MOSCOW, November 3. /TASS/. A bill tightening responsibility for the encouragement of performance enhancing drugs in sports, passed by Russian lawmakers earlier in the day in the final two readings, is an important step toward formation of effective anti-doping system in Russia, Vitaly Smirnov, the head of the Russian Independent Anti-Doping Commission, told TASS.
The draft law stipulating a criminal responsibility for encouraging athletes to consume performance enhancing drugs was submitted in late March this year. It was unanimously passed in the first out three readings with the State Duma on June 15. On Thursday morning the bill was passed by the lawmakers in the two remaining readings.
"This is an extremely important step in the formation of effective anti-doping system in our country," Smirnov said in an interview with TASS. "We hail the work of our legislators."
The bill was initiated by the United Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) political parties and initially stipulated a financial fine of up to 500,000 rubles (over $7,350 at that time’s foreign currency exchange rate) or a fine equal to six-month income of a person guilty of inducing an athlete into doping consumption.
A person found guilty of encouraging an athlete into doping rule violations could be also suspended from his or her professional activities up to three years, according to the initially proposed draft law.
On July 25, the ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) Executive Board approved the establishment of the public anti-doping commission. Smirnov, who is also an IOC honorary member, was appointed the head of the new body. Smirnov worked for the IOC for 45 years and he also served as the ROC president between 1992 and 2001.
The decision to form the commission came after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in mid-July that the ROC could set up an independent public commission on the issues of fight against the abuse of performance enhancing drugs. The presidential proposal followed an array of sanctions against the Russian sports on accusations of doping abuse.