ICC Confirms Intention to Target Test for Banned Substances During ICC Cricket World Cup
ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed today confirmed the ICC’s intention to target test players for banned substances during the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean.
These target tests will be in addition to ICC’s commitment to randomly test four players – two from each side – in 17 of the tournament’s 51 matches and may take place at any time from 2 March onwards, the start of the tournament’s support period ahead of the warm-up matches.
The ICC’s decision to target test has been taken in the wake of Pakistan players Shoaib Ahktar and Mohammed Asif testing positive for banned substances last year.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) withdrew the two players from the ICC Champions Trophy in October as a result of those findings, which came about following internal tests prior to the tournament.
The PCB banned the players but those bans were thrown out on appeal and the ICC was unable to intercede as its own anti-doping code – which is World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-compliant – only governs ICC events.
WADA is seeking to challenge the overturning of the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a matter that is still ongoing.
Underlining the reasons behind the decision to target test during the ICC Cricket World Cup, Mr Speed said: “Both Shoaib Ahktar and Mohammed Asif have played for Pakistan over the past few months despite testing positive for prohibited substances last year.
“That is a fact neither player has disputed and it is also a fact that has caused the game a high level of embarrassment as a result.
“We want to make absolutely sure that all players who take part in the ICC Cricket World Cup do so on the basis that they are free from banned substances.
“From an ICC perspective, having the option to target test as well as the already-scheduled tests in place means that if a player does have anything in his system then there is a very strong possibility he will be caught out.
“If that happens he will face a charge under the ICC Code of Conduct and his team mates will also suffer because it is extremely unlikely that the tournament Technical Committee would allow a replacement if a player is banned as a result of such a charge.
“This underlines our continuing commitment to maintaining a zero tolerance of drugs in cricket and is also a further illustration of our sport’s commitment to the WADA Code, which we signed in July 2006 following the agreement of our Members,” he added.
In Cape Town for the ICC Board meeting on Thursday and Friday, Mr Speed said he believed cricket could be proud of the fact that since the ICC began drug-testing in 2002 no player had ever tested positive for a banned substance at one of its events.
“The ICC is committed to doing everything possible to ensure that record remains intact in the years to come and, to that end, we have sought to help our Members educate their players,” he said.
“Since signing the WADA Code we have produced a DVD on the ICC’s anti-doping policy that was distributed to all teams at the ICC Champions Trophy.
“The DVD has also been sent to the six other teams taking part in the ICC Cricket World Cup and it has been translated into Hindi and Urdu.
“And we have produced additional resource material for teams on supplements, the testing process and what happens if a player tests positive at an ICC event.
“It is all part of our mission to help our Members educate their players and officials and empower them to introduce a WADA-compliant policy if they do not already have one as soon as practically possible,” added Mr Speed.
Warm-up matches for the ICC Cricket World Cup begin on 5 March with the opening ceremony being held in Trelawny, Jamaica six days later. The opening match of the tournament will take place between hosts the West Indies and Pakistan at Sabina Park, Jamaica on 13 March.
The final will be held at the Kensington Oval, Barbados on 28 April. Australia is the defending champion after it won its second successive ICC Cricket World Cup – and its third in total – in South Africa in 2003.
The ICC’s anti-doping code, which applies to all ICC events, can be found at: http://www.icc-cricket.com/icc/rules/anti-doping-code.pdf