SPORTS

Rogge against longer bans

HELSINKI – International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge said yesterday that any move to double the suspension for first-time serious doping offenses to four years would be fraught with difficulties, and he called a US proposal for immediate lifetime bans unrealistic. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decided this week it will lobby for an immediate four-year suspension for all sports by the time the World Anti-Doping Agency has its next conference in 2007. «This is not something which will be decided overnight,» Rogge said after a meeting with the IAAF Council on the eve of the world athletics championships. «It would need a long consultation process.» It took a major effort to have all Olympic sporting federations agree to a two-year ban ahead of the Athens Olympics, and it would require a major effort to have such federations like FIFA or the international cycling union agree to a doubling. «Then would still come, of course, the second part. The sports movement would have to convince the governments,» Rogge said, adding that the 200-plus countries involved might have their legal objections, too. «Today we have a WADA code which is widely accepted,» Rogge said. Still, he committed himself to poll the other sporting federations to see what their position was. The IAAF agreed to a four-year proposal in a compromise move to have USA Track & Field withdraw its proposal for lifetime bans for first-time steroid violations. Rogge said it would stand no chance in court. «My personal advice: lifetime – no,» he said. «It should allow for the rehabilitation of an athlete. This is a common principle of due justice.»