The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) stood by its players and on Sunday refused to sign a testing code followed by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
While insisting that it was not looking for a confrontation with the International Cricket Council (ICC), the board said the controversial ‘whereabouts’ clause in the code was impractical in the Indian situation.
WADA requires each player, or his nominated representative, to file ‘whereabouts’ information in advance. This means a player must fill in his exact location for a one-hour period of each day (between 6am and 11pm) where he can be found, if needed, by a WADA representative.
The players pleaded that this was an invasion of their privacy, and in some cases impossible. Sachin Tendulkar, for example, has Z-category security and the case has been made that it is untenable for him to make his whereabouts known in advance to a third party.
While most sporting federations the world over have signed up with WADA, notable dissenters include the international football federation FIFA, which also had objections to the ‘wherabouts’ clause.
In cricket, every country barring India has signed the WADA code and is following the procedures put in place.
BCCI president Shashank Manohar stressed that the board was all for a zero-tolerance policy when it came to doping. “The issue came up in 2006 and everybody agreed that there should not be any doping in cricket — but the system of testing was never discussed at the ICC meets,” Manohar said in Mumbai after a meeting of the board’s working committee, which was also attended by cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh.
What the BCCI has suggested instead is that it would make available any player required for testing within 24 hours. “If the ICC or WADA wants to test a player, they can inform the board which will get him at the required location within a day,” said Manohar. “This is our suggestion.”
The ICC, meanwhile, did not state exactly what the path forward would be.
While it did not rule out sanctioning the players, the ICC’s initial reaction was reconciliatory. “The ICC is aware of the issues of concern and it remains confident they can be addressed to everyone’s satisfaction,” an ICC spokesman said.
“The next step is for this matter to be considered further by the ICC board to find a way forward.”