Call for unity over cheats

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The Independent Online

The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency yesterday urged an immediate international drive to harmonise rules to outlaw drugs from sport.

The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency yesterday urged an immediate international drive to harmonise rules to outlaw drugs from sport.

"There is too much confusion resulting from the multiplicity of rules and legislation," Dick Pound, the head of Wada, told sports ministers and officials from 30 nations at the start of a two-day meeting in Oslo. "Our early goal should be the adoption of a single anti-doping code that can be applied across all sports and all countries."

Ministers will try to work out ways to define lists of banned substances and harmonise national rules at the conference. They will also seek to arrange a budget for Wada, which was set up last year and is currently mainly funded by the International Olympic Committee.

The United States drugs control chief, Barry McCaffrey, said that he hoped the harmonising of the rules would not drag on for too long. "I'm not persuaded it's going to take years," he said. "A lot of the inconsistencies between sports... are simply that there is no set of common standards. These aren't rooted in US federal legislation. If we have a Wada code and a common set of banned substances by Salt Lake [Winter Olympic Games in 2002], many of us will try and use that as the document to drive national action."

McCaffrey declined to estimate the extent of drug-taking but said that athletes almost routinely suspected winners of doping despite only seven of 10,000 athletes testing positive at Sydney. "I do not believe that the majority of US athletes are involved in doping," he said. "But I think those who are not [taking drugs] are properly concerned that they're going to lose to second-rate athletes with first-class pharmacists."

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