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An estimated 2-minute read

BCCI stands firm with AG's support

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The Board for Control of Cricket (BCCI) in India has stuck to its position of non-compliance with the 'whereabouts clause' in the new World Anti-Doping Code.

Arguing that the 'whereabouts clause' infringes the privacy of its players, the BCCI had initially dismissed the WADA Code and requested former Chief Justice of India A. S. Anand and India's attorney general G. E. Vahanavati to opine on the clause.

Vahanavati then did opine to the BCCI and stated that the 'whereabouts clause' in the anti-doping code would infringe on the players' privacy and be subject to a constitutional challenge in the courts.

In numerous cases the right to privacy has been held to be a part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The International Cricket Council, which is itself WADA compliant since 2006, convened a two-day meeting of the special committee, became apprehensive and recognised the merit in Vahanavati's opinion.

It called off the meeting of the special committee which included Anil Kumble as the Indian players' representative.

According to reports, the cricket boards of Australia (CA), England (ECB), South Africa (CSA), New Zealand (NZC), Sri Lanka (SLC), Zimbabwe (ZC) and Bangladesh (BCB), all of which had earlier signed up to the new code, have supported the BCCI's views and objected to the 'whereabouts clause'. 

These boards have conveyed to the ICC that they see merit in the concerns raised by the BCCI as being genuine and having legal basis.

The ICC's legal experts, David Becker and Ian Higgins, have now been trying to allay fears and concerns by advising on the ramifications of the new code. The ICC's Company Lawyer, Ian Higgins, who was formerly an associate with UK-international firm Bird & Bird also flew down to Mumbai earlier to address the BCCI's concerns.

The Government of India has reiterated that it is fully committed to the new code including the 'whereabouts clause.'

The BCCI which has acted contrary to the government's stand and is drawing strength from Mr. Vahanavati's opinion, is sticking to its position of demanding a new cricket specific code from WADA.

And following the recent wave of support for 'rethinking WADA's whereabouts clause methodically', the ICC has requested the WADA to formulate a cricket-specific code. Although WADA has not yet responded to this specific request, WADA president John Fahey has stated that WADA will review the out-of-competition testing rule at the end of the year and make any practical changes if necessary.

Looks like this one will keep getting stickier.

Photo by Tc7

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