sport

WADA eye tougher penalties

The World Anti-Doping Agency has put plans in place to increase the length of bans given to athletes found guilty of serious doping offences.

If the draft proposal is passed, bans that increase from two to four years will come into force in 2015.

This would only be applicable to first-time offences, as a second offence already carries a life ban.

"There is a strong desire to strengthen the sanction articles in the code," said WADA president John Fahey.

"This second draft has done that, doubling the length of suspension for serious offenders and widening the scope for anti-doping organisations to impose lifetime bans."

What WADA terms "serious" offences includes the use of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, masking agents and trafficking.

The increased ban should rule out the need for a specific ban on Olympic participation.

"The rationale is if more four-year sanctions are delivered, then there won't be any need for [the IOC rule] because the athletes will be missing the next Olympics," added Wada spokesman Terence O'Rorke.

The proposal will undergo further review up until March 2013, at which time a final draft will be sent for ratification at the world anti-doping conference in Johannesburg in November of the same year.