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August 3, 2009

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Indian cricket board rejects WADA code

WORLD cricket's plan to adopt the World Anti-Doping Agency agreement was thrown into doubt yesterday when India rejected a contentious clause.

India's cricket board acted on the complaints of its players by rejecting a section of the WADA agreement that requires players to give their whereabouts three months in advance to allow random out-of-competition testing.

"It invades the players' privacy which is their constitutional right and cannot be taken away," Shashank Manohar, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India said after a meeting in Mumbai yesterday.

N Srinivasan, the BCCI secretary, said the players' only objection was to the whereabouts clause.

"They don't have a problem with being tested or the testing system but they cannot be followed when not playing cricket," Srinivasan said. "The issue is of out of competition testing. Since it's a matter of privacy and also about security the BCCI agrees with the players' view."

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh attended the meeting.

Indian Olympic shooting champion Abhinav Bindra rebuked the cricketers while the domestic media began debating whether the influential BCCI was again trying to flex its muscles.

"There is absolutely no security concern," Bindra said. "This is a lack of knowledge because the sport is not globalized as such."

Cricket is seen as low-risk as far as doping is concerned, but realizes it needs to comply with WADA rules if it is to eventually make it to the Olympic-fold.

Players from all other major cricket nations have signed up and International Cricket Council lawyer Iain Higgins met Indian officials before the meeting to persuade their players to comply.

National boards

India's rejection is a blow to the ICC, which had directed all affiliated national boards to get their players to sign the WADA form by August 1. The ICC is a signatory to the WADA code, making it mandatory for all affiliates to comply with the anti-doping stipulations.

By their decision, the Indian players missed the deadline to register, a stance that could prevent future participation in ICC events such as the Champions Trophy being staged in South Africa from September 22 to October 5.

According to WADA rules, anyone missing three doping tests in 18 months faces bans stretching to two years.

In a statement, the ICC said, "What both parties are looking for is a practical and mutually acceptable solution to the situation. The next step is for this matter to be considered further by the ICC Board to find a way forward."


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