Rahul Dravid favours sportspersons signing `whereabouts` clause of WADA
New Delhi: Former Indian cricket captain Rahul Dravid on Tuesday favoured sportspersons signing the "whereabout" clause of anti-doping agency WADA as this would reduce chances of corrupt practices in the game.
Dravid is the first cricketer to have aired his view on this issue which has not been agreed to by BCCI or the current senior national team players.
Under this agreement, a player has to sign an agreement with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to provide information about their exact location as well as engagements for three months in advance. Cricketers, who were supported by BCCI, had refused to sign it saying it violated their privacy.
"Sportspersons have to realise the whereabout clause. I will be the first one to sign it straight away. Sportsmen should not be given a choice in these things," he said while speaking at a special session on `Ethics and Integrity in Sports` organised by CBI.
Dravid insisted this clause needed to be applied so that innocent players do not suffer.
"These need to be enforced. Age-testing, participation in lie-detector tests, surveillance of communications, surprise dope sampling and other losses of privacy and liberty will unfortunately be inconveniences that every athlete -- even those who would never cheat -- will have to bear with as part of the bargain," he said.
"It will be an unfortunate new reality for the majority of athletes who play their game honestly and with integrity. But then sport is fighting no simple battle -- it is never easy to overcome a challenge when it comes as much from within as without," Dravid said.
He said that in order to curb corrupt practices in sports, there`s a need to enforce more regulation, involve security agencies and conduct polygraph tests.
"You need more regulation, security agencies need to be more involved, polygraph tests need to be conducted...Do anything but honest and good sportspersons should be protected," said Dravid.
Dravid also said that the culprits must be made to serve jail sentences in order to instill fear in others.
"Unless you have jail sentences for culprits and people see consequences of their action, nothing will happen," Dravid, who was the captain of Rajasthan Royals team whose three players, including S Sreesanth, were arrested for their alleged role in IPL VI spot-fixing scandal.
Asked if he was in favour of legalising betting in the country, Dravid said, "If it can help in reducing corruption, I am all for it."
Dravid pointed out four integrity issues in Indian sport that require legal intervention.
"While the subject matter of sports integrity is very vast in its scope, I would like to focus the attention of legislators and policy makers in our midst to matters that I believe require immediate attention.
"There are four integrity issues in Indian sport that require legal intervention, which are, age fraud, doping, deliberate under-performance and player involvement in the betting industry," said the former skipper.
He said that these issues needed to be addressed on an urgent basis.
"Failure to address these challenges not only risks a serious threat to all-round confidence in sport, but will also enable entrenchment of new norms in sub-culture of sport -- norms that we will eventually have to fight even harder to change. Take the example of cycling, where no cyclist believed they stood a genuine chance unless they doped.
"If we are to tackle the challenge head on, the urgent need is to break the nexus between organised crime and sports cheating, to incorporate advanced investigative and forensic techniques and to have genuine and meaningful punishments under the general law for everyone involved and complicit.
"Therefore, I believe that it is now time for legal reform and the turn of national and state legislators and the criminal law administration to intervene definitively."
He also said that the investigations must be "speedy and precise".
"Investigations must be speedy and precise, independent and unbiased, making the various available temptations unattractive for potential offenders right down the chain of corruption," he said.
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