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Tuesday, August 07, 2001

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FIDE to adopt IOC Medical Code

By P. K. Ajith Kumar

KOZHIKODE, AUG. 6. The world chess governing body, FIDE, is all set to introduce an anti-doping code to ensure that the sport continues to be free of any drug abuse.

The presidential board of FIDE, which met in Dubai recently, resolved to fully adopt the IOC Medical Code as the only basis for the FIDE Anti-Doping Code with immediate effect, according to the documents made available to The Hindu.

``Drug tests at major competitions would soon become a common feature in chess as well, like any other sport,'' FIDE vice president Mr. P. T. Ummer Koya told The Hindu here before leaving for Lausanne, Switzerland, to attend the steering committee of the world governing body. ``FIDE wants chess to be included as a discipline at the Olympics, and for that an anti-doping code is mandatory,'' he added.

The Dubai presidential board noted that ``... FIDE, in close collaboration with the National Chess Federations (NCF), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the National Olympic Committees (NOC) dedicates its efforts to ensuring that in chess the spirit of Fair Play prevails, leads the fight against doping in sport and takes measures, the goal of which is to prevent endangering the health of competitions.''

FIDE has adopted a series of regulations to fight doping in chess, including penalties for the offenders. The prohibited substances and methods have also been listed, subject to the changes made by the IOC executive board, upon the recommendation by the council of the World Anti-Doping (WADA).

Crime and punishment: In a case of doping, the penalties of a first offense are the following: If the prohibited substance used is ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, psuedoephdrine, caffeine, strychnine or related substances, the offender could get a warning, a ban on participation in one or several competitions in any capacity whatsoever, a fine of up to $100,000, and suspension from any competition for a period of one to six months.

If the prohibited substance used is any other than those mentioned in the paragraph above, the offender is liable to get a suspension of a minimum period of two years, besides the $100,000 fine.

In case of intentional doping, the use of a masking agent (for suppressing the integrity of urine or other samples used in doping controls), manoeuvers or manipulations that may prevent or distort any test, refusal to undergo any test, doping for which responsibility is imputable to an official or the competitor's entourage or complicity or other forms of involvement in an act of doping by members of a medical, or related profession, ban of two to eight years could be the penalty, if the prohibited substance used is any of those mentioned earlier. If the substance used is any other, or if there is a repeat offense (within a period of ten years), there could be a life ban as well as a fine of $1,000,000.

Any case of doping during a competitor automatically leads to invalidation of the result obtained (with all its consequences, including forfeit of any medals and prizes), irrespective of any other sanction that may be applied.

For the trafficking offense too life ban will be sanctioned.

FIDE makes it clear that it is entitled to carry out doping control on any competitor in any FIDE competition. FIDE's disciplinary proceedings will take place in two stages: suspension and hearing before a FIDE Tribunal comprising not less than three members. The competitor will have to request in writing for an oral hearing with 28 days after the notification of his or her suspension.

Appeals: Any participant affected by a decision by FIDE, the IOC, an NCF, or an NOC may appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in accordance with the provisions applicable before such court.

Testing procedures: Two separate urine samples of a competitor will be collected and the result will be deemed positive if the first sample is positive after analysis, and any such result may be acted upon for purposes of any competition or out-of- competition test. A participant may, however, request that the second sample be analysed.

Should the anlaysis show the second sample not confirm the result of the analysis of the first sample, nor further sanctions will apply, but the initial sanction (disqualification) shall nevertheless remain in full force and effect.

Only those laboratories accredited by WADA are qualified to undertake the detection of the presence of prohibited substances and the use of prohibited methods (blood doping, administering artificial oxygen carriers or plasma expanders or pharmacological, chemical or physical manipulation). The procedure of accreditation of laboratories is provided by WADA.

An interesting move: Argentine Grandmaster Maxim Sorokin, currently in India on a coaching assignment, feels FIDE's anti- doping code is an interesting move. ``I know some players do take drugs during chess tournaments, but I have no idea whether those drugs are banned or not,'' he told The Hindu.

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