WADA questions WBC drug testing

Updated: March 16, 2006, 3:31 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The World Anti-Doping Agency questioned the drug-testing policy of the World Baseball Classic on Thursday.

The organization in charge of enforcing international doping rules called on baseball officials to publicly disclose details of the policy and testing program prior to the end of the tournament Monday. Failure to do so could jeopardize baseball's re-entry into the Olympics.

"It's very simple. We are asking baseball to come clean and set the record straight," said WADA president Richard Pound. "Either baseball officials seriously want to rid their sport of doping, or they want to brush the issue under the carpet. So far, we haven't seen much evidence of the former."

Because the International Baseball Federation is sanctioning the WBC for Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, the tournament is required to adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code.

A drug-testing policy document sent to players on the preliminary rosters for the inaugural World Baseball Classic is missing important and popular performance-enhancers banned under the World Anti-Doping Code, ESPN The Magazine's Amy Nelson reported this week on ESPN.com.

Whether the omissions happened accidentally or on purpose, the end result could be the invalidation of any positive test results. The list of missing substances includes Human Growth Hormone, ephedrine and DHEA, a legal pro-hormonal supplement that is similar to andro.

Also contained in the document is a clause that preserves confidentiality for players on provisional rosters who may have failed drug tests before the competition began.

Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and Rob Manfred, MLB's executive VP for labor relations, both contend this blanket of confidentiality only extends to players who may have tested positive and then were either cut from their teams or voluntarily dropped from the tournament before the 30-man rosters were set.

Both MLB and the MLBPA have said that the IBAF is in charge of drug testing for the tournament, and IBAF president Aldo Notari told ESPNDeportes.com on Monday that more than 200 samples have been taken from players and no one has tested positive.

"I don't care whether or not the players got the notice," Orza said. "WADA might care about that, but I don't. The laboratory will report to us what the test results are. If it was a substance that is banned by WADA, that individual will be removed from the tournament. If that individual wants to say, 'Gee, I didn't get notice under the World Anti-Doping Code,' we say, 'Sorry, you are responsible for knowing the banned substances under our rules.' "

Both baseball and softball were voted out of the Olympics this February, so the 2008 Games will be the last for both sports.

Baseball officials have resisted repeated offers of assistance as well as requests from WADA for a copy of the anti-doping policy to ensure that the anti-doping rules are compliant with the world recognized Code.

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