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Russia Is Developing An Anti-Doping Program

By Sergey Yurlov

Russia is developing its anti-doping program as a result of a ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations on the Russian Athletics Federation.

On November 23rd, Draft Law No. 936021-6 "On the amendment to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation" (the Bill), was introduced into the State Duma (http://asozd2c.duma.gov.ru/addwork/scans.nsf/ID/6CD0A0EDCECA6CBA43257F0600527CF3/$FILE/936021-6.PDF?OpenElement). The Bill imposes criminal liability for the following actions:

• Inducing the commission of anti-doping rules violations: Punishable by a fine of 500,000 Rubles ($7,500), or the amount of wages or income of a convicted person for a period to six months with or without the prohibition to hold certain offices or carry on certain activities for a term up to three years; and

• fraud of an athlete consisting in the transfer of prohibited substances or in the application of prohibited methods under the guise of permitted medicines or methods: Punishable by a fine in the amount to 2 million Rubles ($29,555.28), or in the amount of wages or income of a convicted person for a period up to three years, or imprisonment for a period of up to three years with or without the prohibition to hold certain offices or carry certain activities for a term up to three years.

According to the Bill, the inducers are coaches, doctors and other persons responsible for the training procedure of a particular athlete. To be sentenced by a court, those subjects should commit the above mentioned actions before, during or after a sporting competition.

Thus, the Bill imposes criminal liability of support personnel, but not athletes. In accordance with its Explanatory Note (Note), the Bill is aimed at combating doping, especially with people who induce athletes to take prohibited substances or/and use prohibited methods.

According to the Note, inducing constitutes intentional actions (persuasion, offers, counseling or fraud), even just once, intended to create a desire to use prohibited substances or methods. On its face, it is a good idea to criminalize inducing the commission of anti-doping rules violations. However, it appears that the Bill has the following disadvantages:

1) It provides for criminal liability of sports personnel only. In order to clean up modern sports, we should take certain measures aimed at educating and guiding athletes in doping issues. For example, we should organize meetings to discuss how to avoid taking prohibited substances when choosing sport nutrition.

2) It imposes criminal liability of support personnel. We should keep in mind that some athletes take prohibited substances or/and use prohibited methods without notifying their coaches, doctors and other officials. In such cases, those athletes are personally liable for anti-doping rules violations. Unfortunately, the Bill is silent about this.

3) It is impossible to eradicate doping only by putting into force new laws. Recent doping and corruption scandals have evidenced that there is a deep problem with sports governance on both national and international levels. Therefore, the problem should be resolved by taking both organizational and legal measures.

As of today, it is not clear when the Bill will be enacted. In the meantime, it appears that the Russian government will pushing the Parliament to enact the Bill as soon as possible.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 8, 2015 7:31 PM.

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