US Senate Passes Rodchenkov Act

  • Rodchenkov Act has been passed by the US Senate.
  • The Rodchenkov Act will apply to all competitions held in accordance with WADA rules.
  • The law will not apply to the North American professional leagues.

The US Senate has passed a bill that will allow criminal prosecution of individuals who are involved in schemes that allow systematic violations of sport anti-doping rules. The bill is named after Grigory Radchenkov, who was a consultant during the preparation phase in Russia.

Grigory Rodchenkov is the former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory, the Anti-Doping Center. Rodchenkov is known for his involvement in the state-run doping program in Russia.

He approved such acts, and stated that the fight against doping in the world has reached a new level of efficiency. Rodchenkov defected to the United States. In 2016, the New York Times published a piece pertaining to the Russian FSB’s organized schemes involving the substitution of doping samples at the 2014 Sochi Olympics to hide the practice of doping by athletes from the Russian national team.

Rodchenkov is considered a traitor in Russia, even though it is highly likely the doping scenario occurred. He is not an innocent party himself. Unfortunately, the elite sports expectations are outside the norm. The records are pushed to be broken, and the human body can’t achieve certain results naturally.

According the West, two investigations have been conducted, and it was confirmed that the Kremlin organized a system of doping in the elite sports. Moreover, Russia did acknowledge the failure of the country’s anti-doping system, but denies involvement of the state and special services in the substitution of athletes’ samples.

The Rodchenkov Act will apply to all competitions held in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules. WADA, however opposes the act due to the extraterritorial component. It can also cause issues, including Russia and China passing retaliatory acts. It could result in the mass jailing of the foreign nationals.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is a foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee based in Canada to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports. The agency’s key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code, whose provisions are enforced by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport.

Russia is not the only country who has been caught in the doping scandal. Lance Armstrong actually admitted to systematic doping during his cycling career.

Additionally, the Rodchenkov Act provides the opportunity to be prosecuted by the United States. Hence, the US will be able to prosecute any foreign national if they participate in the organized doping for the competitions. Interestingly, the law will not apply to the North American professional leagues (NBA, NHL, etc.) that do not follow the WADA code.

The violators face fines of up to $1 million and up to 10 years in prison. The law does not provide for prosecution of individual athletes found to be doping. Overall, it could cause many Russian sport professionals to be banned not only in the United States, but also in the vast majority of countries around the world.

Doping is wrong and should never be allowed. Nevertheless, is it perhaps time to rethink the expectations in sports? Otherwise, these scenarios will continue to happen.

The human body can only do so much and the push to do more and set world records non stop needs to end. Unfortunately, the Rodchenkov Act might not be the right tool.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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