Track and field’s international governing body (IAAF) announced intentions to return to a four-year ban for serious doping offenses beginning in 2015.
The current sentence for first-time offenders is up to two years.
“The new WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Code, which will come into force on 1 January 2015, will reflect our firm commitment to have tougher penalties and the IAAF will return to 4 year sanctions for serious doping offences,” the IAAF said in a statement posted on its website.
As strong as that statement is, there’s no guarantee that the four-year ban will be implemented. The new WADA code is up for approval at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg from Nov. 12-15.
“The four-year ban is not a slam dunk,” Abby Hoffman, the IAAF’s anti-doping task force coordinator, told The Associated Press. “We need to be sure that space is carved in in the anti-doping campaign for athletics to impose the ban that we know our athletes and our members want.”
Track and field has been rocked by doping news the last two months, from Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown failing drug tests to a Turkish scandal that includes more than 40 athletes, including teenagers being given illegal substances.