For the first time, Germany is set to make doping in sport a crime with jail terms of up to three years for athletes who are found guilty.
The new law will affect about 7,000 German professional athletes who are covered by the national testing program. The law will also cover foreign athletes who are caught doping in Germany. The draft is scheduled to be presented soon by ministers with the law going before parliament in spring 2015. The 46-page draft of the new law means athletes who have failed both the A and B doping tests could be prosecuted for the first time. Under the new anti-doping law, possession of doping products would also be a punishable offence, irrespective of the amount. The proposal also includes a maximum sentence in extreme cases of up to 10 years for those found guilty of supplying athletes with doping substances.
Germany refused to draft an anti-doping law in 2009 even after many doping scandals involving German sportsmen and women. Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière then remarked he is cautious to instantly implement strong legal regulations. Five years later, a new anti-doping law has been drafted and launched by Thomas de Maizière along with justice minister Jeiko Maas. The draft law includes a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment for those who indulge in doping. According to the new law, data and documents from Germany's courts or state prosecutors would have to be handed over to Germany's National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on request.
Germany's minister of justice Heiko Maas remarked this law will be a statement for clean sport and a challenge to those who dope.
With this development, regular German courts could now sentence dopers to time behind bars. However, this draft is only focused at top level and professional sportsmen and women. The draft says only those "earning a significant amount from sport" are open to investigations and punishments for doping and those into amateur and mass sport are not included.
Clemens Prokop, president of Germany's Athletics Association (DLV), remarked the anti-doping law is a huge step in the effective battle against doping. President of the Germany's Cycling Association (BDR), Rudolf Scharping, said he hopes this law also removes the in-between men and the criminal network of doping. The draft was also supported by Germany's football team manager Oliver Bierhoff who remarked sport can be clean only with tough, drastic sanctions.
In another development, the doping ban of German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle has been cut from two years to six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). It was ruled by a three-man CAS panel that Sachenbacher-Stehle's positive test at the Sochi Olympics was the result of a contaminated supplement and her degree of fault was "minimal." Sachebacher-Stehle, a former two-time Olympic champion in cross-country skiing, was stripped of her fourth-place finish in biathlon mass start by the International Olympic Committee. She tested positive for the banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine at the Winter Games in February. It was ruled by the CAS that the athlete took the substance inadvertently in a dietary supplement.