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WADA plans to target entourages behind drug cheats

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey looks on before the WADA Media Symposium at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne in this Febr
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey looks on before the WADA Media Symposium at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne in this Febr

LONDON (Reuters) - World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey has vowed to introduce measures to help catch the coaches, agents and physiotherapists who help drug cheats, The Independent newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Ten days after the athletics world was rocked by the news that former double world sprint champion Tyson Gay and former world 100 meters record holder Asafa Powell had failed doping tests, Fahey outlined WADA's proposed new and tougher code.

"It's a much more effective code as it's one for the entourage as well - picking up the coaches, agents and physios," Fahey told The Independent. "It says they can be dealt with in the same fashion as an athlete."

The code, which will be presented in November and, if ratified, will come into effect in 2015, will also target athletes who have used coaches and advisors found guilty of doping in the past.

"These aren't registered people but what we're saying is that athletes who use that person will suffer the sanctions of an anti-doping violation," Fahey said.

"We can do that. Here I'm talking about the Victor Contes of this world, an admitted cheat that's done time. So it's increased penalties to include the entourage."

American Conte, jailed in 2005 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute banned steroids, was at the center of the BALCO doping program which included several high profile athletes like Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery.

A steroid specifically designed to fool testers, dubbed tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), was produced and distributed by BALCO.

Two other important components in WADA's new code were the requirement for "full menu testing" and a proposal for bans to be doubled to four years for the more serious doping offenses.

"Some anti-doping organizations are undertaking testing and not ticking the square for testing, say, steroids," Fahey said. "That will be eliminated in the code. This is part of ensuring we have the best machinery to beat the cheats.

"The real cheats are going to get four-year bans, the ones with steroids and human growth hormone in their system, and that's a big jump from the current two years.

"The thinking is that not a lot of people come back from four years. OK, Justin Gatlin did, but there aren't many."

American sprinter Gay, who has run the fastest three 100 meters of the year, on July 14 pulled out of next month's Moscow world championships after failing an out-of-competition dope test.

Later that same day, Powell tested positive for the stimulant oxilophrine at last month's Jamaican championships.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Julian Linden)

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