© Reuters. USDA CEO Tygart participates in an interview with Reuters during the WADA Symposium in Ecublens
Posted by Steve Keating
(Reuters) – After multiple doping scandals, Rodchenkov’s anti-doping law will give hope that broadcasters and sponsors will get a drug-free competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ( USADA) on Friday.
As part of a Hudson (NYSE 🙂 Institute panel discussing how the Rodchenkov Act can help eradicate doping fraud in international sport, Tygart praised the legislation, signed by then-US President Donald Trump on December 4, as “Game Changer”.
The law is named after the whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, who helped expose Russia’s state-sponsored doping program. It extends the jurisdiction of U.S. law enforcement agencies to include international sports competitions in which American athletes participate or have financial ties to the United States.
“I think it will be a change for both athletes and fans and sponsors,” said Tygart. “Hopefully sponsors will finally get the return on their investment, value, at what they pay for when it is time to broadcast.
“NBC paid billions of dollars to air the Tokyo 2020 games that will be held in the US this summer, and you go back to 2016, 2014, 2012 of what they paid for what they didn’t get.”
Research by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has revealed evidence of widespread government-sponsored doping in Russia ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Numerous positive doping tests years after the London 2012 Games resulted in many medals being stripped, most of them by Russian athletes.
Russian athletes were banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics for doping, while the 2014 Russian Winter Games in Sochi was tarnished by the country’s sophisticated doping program to help their own athletes win more medals.
The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, held under the cloud of the Russian doping scandal, did not make it onto Tygart’s list of tainted games that had developed without major drug controversy.
Russia, which has admitted some shortcomings in the implementation of its anti-doping policy in the past, denies running a state-sponsored doping program.
However, Tygart warned that any company, sports association, or country planning ways to benefit from doping fraud at future Olympics or major events will struggle not only with WADA but also with the US Department of Justice.
Referring to the “FIFA Model”, Tygart stated that those involved in doping fraud can now expect the same harsh treatment that football officials involved in the money laundering and bribery scandal have removed from office with fines for the dozen occupied or imprisoned as of 2015.
The Rodchenkov Act gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation the hammer to hit those who want to profit from doping fraud.
“Organized crime is going to figure out how to monetize the variables associated with sport,” said Joseph Gillespie, head of unit / program strategist on transnational threats at the FBI. “We have had to rely on some peripheral crimes in the past to get to the group and cease its activities.
“Right now with this act, that just gives us this huge hammer.”
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