Doping a criminal offence? NADA set to discuss possibility

Sports Minister Vijay Goel’s initiative of asking the agency to mull over the idea has come in the wake of the dope scandal that has rocked Indian football, after goalkeeper Subrata Paul tested positive for a banned substance.

The government is contemplating setting up a mechanism to test food supplements, according to Vijay Goel.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Advocating a zero tolerance policy towards doping, Sports Minister Vijay Goel has asked the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to consider the possibility of making it a criminal offence at a seminar with all stakeholders here on Thursday.

Goel’s initiative came in the wake of the dope scandal that has rocked Indian football after goalkeeper Subrata Paul tested positive for a banned substance. Paul is awaiting the results of his ‘B’ sample right now. The minister has also directed NADA, the Indian Olympic Association, the National Sports Federations and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to adopt a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards doping.

Thursday’s seminar has been called to “discuss the issue threadbare and finalise an effective strategy to deal with the menace, including the possibility of making doping a criminal offence.”

Goel has also directed NADA to sensitise the players at grassroots level about the ill-effects of doping through regular seminars and information campaigns at schools and colleges. Goel said the government is contemplating setting up a mechanism to test food supplements, so that athletes can be sure that the supplements they use are free of prohibited substances.

He also emphasised on incorporating a scientific approach to diet and nutrition for athletes, the Sports Ministry said in a statement.