But the new measures announced by Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, fall short of what some in sport had been demanding, in that possessing steroids, taken by athletes to build muscle and allow longer training, will still be legal.
The British Amateur Athletic Association and the British Amateur Weightlifters Association said the controls were little more than a ``step in the right direction''.
Mr Howard said the effectiveness of his measures would be monitored and tougher legislation introduced if necessary. But he said: ``These measures will help to stop the activities of the unscrupulous illicit suppliers and traffickers which feed anabolic steroid misuse.''
By failing to make possession an offence, though, he has left a loophole for determined users, who will be able to buy drugs by mail-order from France and Germeny, where supplying remains legal.
However, policing any complete ban would prove difficult, as steroids are legitimately used in treating many medical conditions.
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