Russia, whose track and field athletes were banned from the Rio Olympics after disclosures of a state-sponsored doping scandal, has brought in a law which makes inducement to doping a criminal offence.
Coaches and specialists in sports medicine and training who induce athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs now face heavy punishment, including imprisonment, according to the law which was approved by Russia’s lower house of parliament, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Thursday.
Punishments could range from a fine of up to 300,000 roubles ($6170) to a prison sentence of up to one year and a ban from taking up certain professional posts for up to three years, depending on the seriousness of the offence.
If the action brought about the death of a sports person or other serious consequences, the person responsible could be jailed for up to three years.
— Sports Integrity SII (@Sport_Integrity) November 3, 2016
The IAAF had urged Russia to criminalise doping as part of a series of conditions to reinstate the Russian track and field federation.
“This once again points out that our government’s policies will absolutely not tolerate doping and especially those coaches who are trying to pressure underage sportsmen to take banned substances,” Alexander Zhukov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee, told TASS in an interview.
“This is, of course, an answer to our foreign critics who have accused our country of having some sort of state program which supports doping.
Undoubtedly, there was never such a program,” he concluded.
The bill, passed unanimously by the State Duma, comes ahead of the publication of a fuller version of World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren‘s report into doping in Russia.
That could see some of Russia’s 2014 Sochi winter Olympic champions stripped of their medals.
Russia spent more than $50 billion on staging the Olympics, and dominated the games with a 33–medal haul.
Russia was suspended from international athletics in November 2015 after an investigation uncovered damning evidence of widespread doping and corruption.
Its track and field and weightlifting teams were excluded from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August, while the entire Russian team was banned from the subsequent Paralympics in September.
Seriously? Only 1 year in prison and less than $5k fine, It's better than nothing, but not a huge deterrent Russia. https://t.co/R8RiJ7aame
— John Nunn (@johnnywalker04) November 3, 2016
However the seriousness with which Russia takes the issue is being questioned with another report today, from RBTH, which says the government will pay athletes disqualified from Rio.
It says 42 athletes will be paid an average of one million Rubles ($A20,438) for missing the event, depending on their results from the season.
– with agencies