According to a new law in Germany, cyclists caught “doping” or carrying banned performance enhancing drugs, can now face a three-year jail sentence, along with those who provide the drugs – facing up to 10 years
The new law criminalizing “doping”, was signed off by President Joachim Gauck, after the legislation was initially passed by Germany’s Lower House and chamber back in November.
“The law was overdue, important penal provisions now come into effect,” said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.
“I am convinced that we can tackle doping in sport and the criminal structures behind it more effectively with this anti-doping law.
“It is a clear commitment of Germany for clean and fair sport.”
Germany follows European neighbors Italy, Spain and France in passing anti-doping laws. However the passage of the new law, hasn’t come without its critics.
The World Anti-Doping Agency president, Sir Craig Reedie, says his organization is “completely opposed to the criminalization of athletes“.
Previously, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), not only had its doubts about the effectiveness of the new law, but they also had fears about how it could jeopardise the independence of their organization. However, they’re now saying they support it.
“It has several improvements that strengthen the joint effort of the state and sport’s fight against doping,” the DOSB said.
About 7,000 German professional athletes who are covered by the national testing program would be affected by the new law.
In the past, several high profile German athletes have admitted to doping or been caught using banned substances, including cyclists Jan Ullrich and Stefan Schumacher and biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, who tested positive at the Winter Olympics at Sochi in 2014.
Nevertheless, cycling has experienced a steady resurgence over the years, as evidenced by the recent announcement that Dusseldorf will host the start of the 2017 Tour de France.
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