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BCCI opposes doping clause

Special Correspondent

— Photo: AP

HAVING THEIR WAY: Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (right) and Harbhajan Singh emerge from the BCCI office after the Board’s working committee meeting in Mumbai on Sunday.

Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has declared the ‘whereabouts’ clause of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) as unacceptable for its cricketers.

In doing so, cricket’s apex governing body in the country is seen to be standing firmly behind a set of star Indian players.

Eleven leading Indian cricketers, including Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have refused to comply with WADA’s prescription, which is intended to test players at random for drug use.

The deadline expired on July 31.

Under the ‘whereabouts’ clause, a player has to inform WADA where he or she could be accessed for an hour each day before each quarter (of 90 days), for surprise ‘out-of-competition’ testing.

If a player is not available when the WADA team visits him or her for tests on three successive occasions, stringent penalties, including a ban for a maximum of two years, could follow.

The BCCI, however, restated its readiness to accept the ICC anti-doping code of 2009 in a modified manner and endorsed the ICC’s drive to make cricket drug-free.

At its working committee meeting here on Sunday, the BCCI decided to keep the ICC engaged in discussions by offering a concession on the issue of ‘out-of-competition’ testing, but rejected outright the ‘whereabouts’ clause citing three reasons.

BCCI president Shashank Manohar explained the three reasons. “One is that some players are under security cover and cannot disclose their day-to-day movements. Secondly, they feel that the clause constitutes invasion of their privacy. Thirdly, the Indian Constitution gives them the right to privacy.”

Mr. Manohar said: “The meeting was convened because of the concerns raised by the players on particular clauses of the Code. We feel the ‘whereabouts’ clause is unreasonable. We would like the ICC to name the player or players for out-of-competition testing and promise to produce them within 24 hours. We agreed to theCode, but not the mechanism or system of operating it.”

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