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Warne case emphasises need for World Code

Warne case emphasises need for World Code

Concerns were raised today about world wide inconsistencies in dealing with positive drug cases in sport.

The New Zealand Sports Drug Agency is frustrated with different rulings on a variety of sports drug incidents.

Agency executive director Graeme Steel highlighted the problem today in the wake of Australian cricket Shane Warne being banned for 12 months for using a banned substance. The maximum penalty was a two-year ban. Warne has until Saturday to appeal his suspension.

Steel said today he was concerned by the number of cases emerging in which the rules seem unclear or inconsistent.

``The Shane Warne case illustrates the problems we have when sports have inconsistent rules which lead to unpredictable and widely varying outcomes.’’

``That is why we are looking forward to the approval of the World Anti-Doping Code in Denmark next week.

The code is designed to harmonise rules and sanctions across all sports.

The code is expected to be fully approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) conference in Copenhagen on March 3-5.

The intention is for all sports and governments to agree to the code. They will be asked to implement the code over agreed time frames leading up to the next Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

``There are still some outstanding issues which will require compromise,’’ newly appointed WADA chief operating officer New Zealand Lawyer David Howman said today.

``But we are hopeful that all will see the benefits of the common code and find a way to sign up." ``The Warne case has emphasised cricket rules are out of step with the mainstream and the Joe McDonnell case revealed how complex the rugby asthma notification processes can be.

`These are just two recent high profile examples of why we need to have a common set of agreed and hopefully relatively simple rules which will apply to all athletes in all sports.’’ Sports outside the ‘Olympic Family’, such as cricket, will find enormous pressure to comply as funding and testing programmes will be contingent on sports adopting the code.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Sports Drug Agency is carrying out over 100 tests on Super 12 rugby players this year in their fight against drugs in sport.

Most of the testing is out of competition. Last year the agency carried out 320 rugby tests and two were returned positive - for pseudoephedrine, commonly contained in cold remedies.

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