Germany considering jail terms for sportspeople and others involved in doping

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Previously regarded as a country with very strict views against doping, Germany is considering stepping things up further with the possible introduction of prison terms for those involved in the use, possession or provision of banned substances.

According to the Berliner Zeitung, the Ministries of Justice and Home Affairs are considering a new law to clamp down on those involved in doping. Athletes, doctors, caregivers and others would all be liable for punishment, although the regarding of criminality and prison terms would apply only to those who make significant revenue from sport rather, it seems, than amateurs.

Under the bill, a jail term of up to three years or a fine could be given to a convicted doper. For those who acquire or possess doping substances, the penalty would be limited to two years behind bars.

Prizes and race results could also be stripped if doping is suspected.

The law would add an additional weapon to the fight against drug use or provision as it would enable individuals to be snagged even if a positive test doesn’t occur. The Berliner Zeitung suggests the discovery of pills in luggage would be one example.

The newspaper spoke to Marburg professor of criminal law Dieter Rössner, who regards the bill as a positive step.

“The law would protect not only the health of athletes, as was the case before under the Medicines Act, but also explicitly the fundamental values of sport such as fairness and equality.”

Under the bill, the list of prohibited substances would be updated and enforced on January 1st of each year.

German cycling was previously hit with a number of high profile doping cases, including former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, multiple Tour de France green jersey winner and stage victor Erik Zabel plus several others from their T-Mobile team.

German television channels withdrew from covering the Tour de France due to several scandals in the 2000s, although it is believed they could make a return in 2015.

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