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AFP
December 6, 2020

Rodchenkov anti-doping bill signed into US law

Sports

AFP
December 6, 2020

WASHINGTON: An anti-doping bill named for Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistleblower who unveiled a state-run Russian doping program, was signed into US law on Friday.

“The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act” imposes criminal sanctions on certain people involved in international doping fraud conspiracies and requires restitution for victims.

The Senate passed the measure last month, setting the stage for the act to become law with Trump’s approval.

It calls for fines and prison sentences for those involved in doping schemes at international sports events.

The law began with February 2018 discussions at a meeting of the US Helsinki Commission, a panel of US lawmakers that considers US-Europe issues.

“Three years ago, the idea to criminalize doping fraud and the corruption it breeds was born at a briefing on Capitol Hill,” said Jim Walden, Rodchenkov’s lawyer, in a statement.

“The Rodchenkov Anti-doping Act is now law and part of the United States criminal code, giving the Department of Justice a powerful and unique set of tools to eradicate doping fraud and related criminal activities from international competitions.”

Rodchenkov exposed a doping program in Russia, saying he concealed positive doping tests and destroyed more than 1,000 urine samples as well as providing banned substances to Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

The McLaren Report confirmed the allegations, leading to partial bans for Russia at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and Rodchenkov has been living in hiding since going public.

“Dr. Rodchenkov extends his deepest thanks to the Helsinki Commission (and all) who have shown true patriotism and bipartisan leadership to stand up for athletes’ rights and make this law a reality,” Walden said.

“Now it falls to the Department of Justice to develop a robust program, cooperating with the US Anti-Doping Agency and international law enforcement partners, to bring the guilty to justice and create zero tolerance for doping in sports. “Dopers should be on clear notice: There is a new sheriff in town, so cheat at your own peril.”