Kremlin 'concerned' about anti-doping bill

MOSCOW • The Kremlin yesterday expressed "concern" over a United States anti-doping bill that grants US officials the power to prosecute individuals responsible for doping conspiracies.

The legislation - called the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act - received formal approval in the US Senate on Monday.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the bill "evokes nothing but concern". He added: "We are highly critical of any attempts by the United States to spread its jurisdiction to other countries."

The Rodchenkov Act is named after whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia's national anti-doping laboratory, who set in motion the Russia doping scandal in 2016.

He was heavily involved in a state-backed conspiracy designed to cover up Russia's cheating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and now lives in hiding in the United States.

The bill now requires a signature from US President Donald Trump before it becomes law.

Unlike the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) which can sanction athletes, the Rodchenkov Act targets the entourage of athletes - coaches, agents, managers - and can lead to fines of up to US$1 million (S$1.34 million) or a prison term of up to 10 years.

A Wada spokesman on Monday expressed concern that similar bills could emerge in other countries for political reasons.

But US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) chief executive Travis Tygart has insisted the legislation offers greater protection for both clean athletes and whistle-blowers.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2020, with the headline 'Kremlin 'concerned' about anti-doping bill'. Print Edition | Subscribe