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BCCI faces a ticklish situation, say experts

If leading sports medicine experts are to be believed, Mohammad Asif might get away with just an IPL ban. The peculiar situation of Asif playing for an India-based team. Anand Vasu reports.

cricket Updated: Apr 08, 2011 12:24 IST
Anand Vasu

If leading sports medicine experts are to be believed, Mohammad Asif might get away with just an IPL ban, even if the substance he tested positive for is nandrolone. The reason? The peculiar situation of Pakistani paceman Asif playing for an India-based team, during the IPL.

“This is a ticklish situation because the ICC has left it to the BCCI to take action. When it comes to the IPL the situation is clear, even at the A-sample stage the player is suspended. But the BCCI can only recommend to the Pakistan Cricket Board that it take further action if Asif is found guilty,” said Dr Ashok Ahuja, head of the Sports Medicine Department of the National Institute of Sport (Patiala) and also a member of the Indian Olympic Association's anti-doping body.

“If Asif chooses to have his B sample tested, the same lab will process the test, but with a different technician. Asif or his medical/legal representatives can be present to ensure that the right sample is tested and that no tampering has occurred.”

Dr Ahuja said that ordinarily, if the regular procedure is followed, the rules are clear. “If the substance is nandrolone and the WADA code is followed strictly, a life ban would result and then the player can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

Interestingly, he also stressed on the fact that even if the substance was not nandrolone, Asif was on shaky ground.
As per article 2.6 of the WADA code, even the possession of a recreational drug is an offence.” Ahuja added that the BCCI would have to deal with the matter carefully. “As the ICC (BCCI’s parent body) is a WADA signatory, the BCCI too will have to follow the same guidelines.”

However, Dr Danish Zaheer, vice-president of the Asian anti-doping agency, and part of the appeals panel that overturned Asif's earlier ban, said the IPL was wrong in naming Asif before investigations were complete. He referred to the result management section of the WADA code which states that an athlete be given ample time and opportunity to prove his innocence before public disclosure. Dr Zaheer also contended that since the earlier ban was overturned, this offence would not be treated as a repeat offence.

“The last offence proved null and void after Asif's appeal; so if the substance comes to be an anabolic steroid, then under the WADA rules, Asif may be banned for two years, but if it's a substance used in medicines, the punishment may be lesser,” he was quoted as saying by the Cricket Nirvana website.