Punishments for athletes who test positive to recreational drugs such as cocaine and marijuana may be faced with a more lenient suspension if the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) code reform passes.
According to The Daily Telegraph, leading international anti-doping agencies, including Australia’s ASADA, will vote on the proposed reform in Poland this week and could shape WADA’s code for 2021.
Under the new proposal, if athletes can prove they weren’t taken to enhance performance the suspension will only last three months.
If athletes then agree to undergo a rehabilitation and detox program, the ban could be slashed to just one month .
Under WADA’s current code, the use of prohibited substances, including cocaine, is met with either a two or four-year ban.
With all four Australian football codes bound by WADA code, as well as a whole host of other sports, the new proposal will have a significant impact on sporting bodies who have already handed down punishments for illicit drug use.
In the NRL, former Cronulla Shark Ben Barba was banned for three months after testing positive to cocaine use in 2016 and was eventually axed by the club.
New Zealand pair Kevin Proctor and Jesse Bromwich escaped suspension despite being caught on camera consuming cocaine, as they did not test positive to the substance.
However, both players were ruled out of the 2017 World Cup and handed suspensions by their respective NRL sides, Gold Coast and Melbourne.
Ex-Collingwood player Sam Murray was handed a backdated 18-month suspension by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal in August after testing positive to a cocaine.
The 22-year-old was recently delisted by the Magpies, but will be free to return to training after December 17 if he is recruited by another club.
Russia’s eligibility for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will also be debated in upcoming WADA conference in Poland after the nation was linked to another doping scandal.