Monday, September 21, 2009

WADA: The holy cows & little lambs

The debate rages on, the latest to join the issue is Shashank Manohar, chief of the BCCI. While he has not said anything about what BCCI’s answer would be to the Sports Ministry, he has said they would discuss about the issue with ICC.

May be he could have made the lives of the journo's simple had he said, “Let me discuss that with Sharad Pawar and come back”

Going back to the January of 2009, it was the ICC which had approved and implemented the WADA regulations. I am not sure if a single official at ICC could take a unilateral decision to sign the regulations. For, the ICC is supposedly a council. Hence it wouldn't be wrong if one assumed that the decisions must be consensual.

The Indian board and all the other “little lambs” that are following the BCCI today had time till July ’09 to think about WADA. To read, re-read, evaluate & re-evaluate the merits and demerits. The BCCI woke up after August 01, 2009, that was when the “Whereabouts” clause was to be implemented. That too after a couple of holy cows moo-ed.

The worst thing is that NADA, the National Anti-doping Agency of India has been writing to BCCI to know what their response / opinion / view on doping and WADA regulations are, but the BCCI has not been responding.

BCCI’s holier than thou behaviour could be justified by saying that they are not answerable to the government or any governmental agency, they are a private co-operative society after all. But when it comes to upholding the integrity of the game, when it comes to guarding the spirit of sportsmanship the BCCI should have answered.

Add this to the BCCI’s rhetoric of starting their own dope control agency which I am sure has not even seen a pen and paper, it makes one whine. I am sure the BCCI can get away with murder in India, because they are not dependent on the government and they are cash rich but the other “little lambs” that want to follow this Mary today would have to herd back to their respective farms once their governments wink on this issue.

So it wouldn’t be long before the BCCI is left orphaned with an immoral cause.


Unknown said...

As far as I understand it, the question is of WADA's constitutional legality.

Though not explicitly included in the constitution, the right to privacy is a legal right in India and cannot be stepped on just because of doping.

RajaB said...

@Bhagwad: As I have said earlier in my posts about WADA, I would analogize WADA with a Income Tax department. The taxman has the right to intrude your privacy... The only difference between the taxman and WADA is that the taxman can prescribe punitive action in conjunction with a court of law. But WADA can only recommend / refer the person accused to the concerned board for action.

Coming to the constitutional validity question... Who governs the players ?

It is the board. So the constitution of the board would bind them to do what the board says as long as it is legal and included in the contract...

Let me give you another example... A factory worker is frisked by the security everyday when he leaves work. Is this not intrusion of privacy ?? Would the security not frisk if the worker says "I promise there's nothing on me" or that he is clean ??

The second thing is precisely what our cricketers want to do... promise that they are clean and get away.

Bhagwad Jal Park said...

I don't believe the Taxman argument is correct. The Taxman will intrude your privacy only if there is proof that you've done something wrong.

In the case of the cricketers, their privacy is being invaded as a matter of routine. If a taxman came to my house "just to check if I was hiding money or not" without evidence, or once every week, it would be an intolerable violation of privacy.

In other words, as far as the taxman goes, it's innocent until proven guilty. In the WADA clause, it's guilty until proven innocent which is wrong.

Coming to the factory question, the workers knew the rules before they joined. They didn't first join and then find out that they were to be frisked. It's management policy that they be frisked. Also, the degree of invasion is small enough. In the WADA clause, cricketers would have to disclose their locations 3 months in advance. It's plain wrong.

As for the cricketers, they're not promising that they're clean. They are willing to take drug tests - but only when it doesn't invade their privacy.

Fortunately, according to the constitution, they have every legal right to defend their privacy. There are other ways to test for drugs without violating this.

And now the cricket boards of other countries such as Australia and the UK have begun to support the BCCI and the cricketers - they realize that they should never have agreed to WADA in the first place.

I have to commend the BCCI for not giving in to an external agency who thinks that all the personal lives of cricketers belong to them. Giving their precise locations three months in advance is highly invasive.