July 8, 2009
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WADA President Urges Major League Baseball to Take Doping Issue Seriously

Following the recent return of a number of high-profile players from Major League Baseball (MLB) from doping suspensions, WADA’s President John Fahey reiterated his call for the MLB and its Players Association (MLBPA) to take the issue of doping seriously.

“The MLB, the players and all those involved in the league need to clearly demonstrate that they are committed to ridding their sport from doping,” said Mr Fahey. “With recent cases, investigations and revelations, including in recently published books, the evidence is indisputable that doping remains an entrenched issue in baseball. Unfortunately, while a number of incremental improvements were introduced in the MLB anti-doping program following the release of the Mitchell Report in 2007, these elements fall far short of the universally accepted standards of the World Anti-Doping Code. If they have nothing to hide, why don’t the MLB and the MLBPA join the rest of the world under the umbrella of the Code?”

Among significant differences between the MLB policy and the Code, sanctions for anti-doping rule violations are far less significant in the MLB. In addition, no truly independent authority is in place in the MLB to ensure accountability and transparency. “It is highly troubling that the league and its players association did not adopt the recommendations made by Senator Mitchell as relates to a truly independent anti-doping program,” added WADA’s President. “Only by implementing these recommendations will they be able to make significant steps toward restoring trust in their program.”

Mr Fahey emphasized that professional baseball has a social responsibility to do more to fight doping. “Doping in the top leagues has a trickledown effect on youth everywhere. Players themselves should take a stand. Where are they? The MLB is an enormous organization, as a sport and a business, and one should not minimize the impact of the example set by the players on youth, in North America and around the world.  Professional baseball now needs to take its responsibilities and clearly demonstrate its commitment to fight doping.”