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MOSCOW, November 3. /TASS/. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) supports Russia’s bill envisaging tougher sanctions for encouraging athletes into performance enhancing drugs consumption, WADA’s press service told TASS on Thursday.
A bill tightening responsibility, including to the extent of a criminal liability, for the encouragement of performance enhancing drugs in sports was passed by Russian lawmakers earlier in the day in the final two readings.
The draft law stipulating a criminal responsibility for encouraging athletes to consume performance enhancing drugs was submitted in late March this year with the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma. 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.
“WADA and its partners in the anti-doping community do, however, strongly encourage governments to introduce laws that penalize those who are trafficking and distributing banned substances; those individuals who are ultimately putting banned substances into the hands of athletes,” the press service said.
“This is a commitment..., which allows governments to formally recognize and adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code,” the statement added.
However, the global anti-doping body stated that a criminal responsibility was an excessive penalty to be enforced in regard to athletes.
“WADA does acknowledge that countries that have introduced criminal legislation for doping by athletes have been effective in catching athlete support personnel that possess or traffic performance enhancing drugs,” according to the global agency.
“It seems that, given the threat of being imprisoned, these individuals are often more cooperative with anti-doping authorities,” the agency added.
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.
The bill is yet to be approved by the Russian parliament’s upper house, the Federation Council, and then to be signed by President Vladimir Putin to come into effect.
Almost a year ago year the WADA Independent Commission carried out an investigation in regard to the activities of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and the Russian Sports Ministry, and announced the results of the probe on November 9.
The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances. The work of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory and RUSADA was eventually suspended