NADA, UAE to jointly carry out ‘no-contact’ dope testing in IPL

NEW DELHI: The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has reached an understanding with the UAE’s National Anti-Doping Committee (NADO), wherein the two anti-doping watchdogs will jointly carry out the dope sample collection of cricketers during the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 tournament in the Emirates, beginning next month. The IPL will be played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah from September 19 to November 10.
UAE NADO’s ‘Standard Operating Procedures’ (SOPs) will be followed all time by the dope control officers (DCOs) of two nations while collecting the urine samples of participating cricketers, TOI has learnt. NADA has already been in touch with its UAE counterpart and, according to the initial talks, the cricketers will be subjected to both in and out-of-competition testing, with maximum emphasis on carrying out a ‘no-contact’ testing in accordance with restrictions placed by local health authorities to ensure protection of cricketers and DCOs.
The ‘no-contact’ procedure would mean that the DCO will place the urine sample container kit at a designated place – either venue, hotel or resort – in the presence of a cricketer chosen for testing and the cricketer, in turn, will put back the container with the sample of his urine at the same designated spot within a specified time period. During the process, the cricketer will make sure to the DCO that he is alone, with no other individual around.
According to the understanding, NADA would be looking at sending some of its DCOs, who will then be quarantined and put in a self-isolation period for a week in accordance with the SOPs put in place by the UAE NADO and local health authorities. As per the thought-out arrangement, the NADA DCOs, upon their arrival in the UAE, could either be staying at the BCCI’s own bio-secure bubble, which it would create for its set of travelling office-bearers. If not, then alternatively, the UAE’s NADO will make the arrangement for the visiting DCOs at one of their residential facilities.
There’s a possibility that the locally-based DCOs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah would be engaged to carry out maximum sample collection at their respective venues to minimise the cost factor, while the NADA DCOs might look to conduct testing at one of the venues, which will act as their base as well.
NADA will be bearing the flight and accommodation expenses of its DCOs during their entire or partial stay for the tournament. The cost of sample collection and transporting them to Qatar’s Doha laboratory would also be NADA’s responsibility. There’s a thought that NADA might look to carry out a specific, very limited number of sample collections, given the high cost of testing ($350 for each sample test) in the Doha laboratory.
Since the eight franchises will be creating their exclusive and lavish bio-secure bubble, by renting out luxurious villas, hotels and resorts, NADA won’t be having that much of money power to spend on their DCOs to make them stay in such bubbles. BCCI and franchises will not be bearing the cost of DCOs.
In the previous 12 seasons of the IPL, Sweden-based International Dope Test and Management (IDTM) did the sample collection and testing as part of the BCCI’s private dope testing arm. During those occasions, BCCI paid for the sample collection and testing. This will be NADA’s first testing season with the IPL and the country’s premier anti-doping watchdog has ruled out any possibility of the ITDM involving in the sample collection.
NADA has informed the BCCI that it will be carrying out the doping activities, despite the IPL being the private and professional league and not part of the ICC’s Future Tours Program (FTP). But since the IPL is BCCI’s domestic event, NADA will be the nodal authority for sample collection and testing. According to sources, the ITDM would have only come into the picture had NADA refused to carry out the testing to the BCCI, citing the shift of the tournament to a foreign land.
“We will be conducting the dope testing at the IPL like any other BCCI event, following the health and safety protocols. We will be organising the DCOs trip, either from India or the UAE or both to the match venues. NADA has discussed the issue with the UAE NADO and some amount of understanding has already been reached. We are waiting for the IPL governing council to finalise the tournament fixtures to plan accordingly,” NADA director general, Navin Agarwal, told TOI.

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