Doctors under fire over Samaranch drug stance


International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch has come under fire from his own anti-drugs chief following his call to reduce the list of banned substances.

Prince Alexandre de Merode, head of the IOC medical commission, said he was "appalled" after Samaranch claimed he saw no harm in athletes taking certain drugs if they were not a health threat.

"I don't understand," said de Merode. "Let me say that people who want to reduce the list of banned drugs are those who want doping to continue.

"President Samaranch has always been against doping and he has always supported the action taken by the medical commission.

"I know where these ideas come from - doctors who have forgotten their professional ethics."

De Merode is expected to step up his fight against drugs at an IOC meeting in Lausanne on Thursday. The meeting was hastily called following Samaranch's remarks.

The furore surrounding drugs in cycling has been revived with the revelation that French customs seized medical products from a Cofidis team van returning from the San Sebastian classic in Spain.

The haul, picked up on August 9th at a motorway toll at Virsac in Gir onde, comprised various "restorative products", said Bernard Quilsen, team director of Cofidis, whose Italian cyclist Francesco Casagrande had won the 232kilo metre one-day race 24 hours earlier.

In New Delhi, it was announced yesterday that cricketers taking part in next month's Commonwealth Games in Malaysia will be required to undergo mandatory drug tests.

Drug tests have never been carried out in cricket, which is being introduced as a medal sport.

Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the International Cricket Council (ICC), said: "The ICC's understanding with the Commonwealth Games organisers is that cricket players will be subjected to random drug tests like other athletes from other disciplines."

Dalmiya was reacting to a plea by his home association, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), that its players be exempt from dope tests at the Games.

"We must stress that we abhor the misuse of drugs in sport and our players have nothing to hide," BCCI secretary Jayant Lele said. "It's just that this thing is new to them and any misunderstanding could to lead to a major embarrassment."