The World Anti-Doping Agency threatened to flunk the World Baseball Classic’s drug-testing program as being too lax, a move that likely would damage the sport’s chances to regain a place in the Olympics.
“It’s very simple. We are asking baseball to come clean and set the record straight,” WADA president Richard Pound said in a statement Thursday. “Either baseball officials seriously want to rid their sport of doping, or they want to brush the issue under the carpet. So far, we haven’t seen much evidence of the former.”
The World Baseball Classic is jointly run by Major League Baseball and its players’ union, and its testing has been sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, which has not announced any positive drug tests.
The International Olympic Committee voted in July to drop baseball and softball after the 2008 Beijing Games, a move the IOC reaffirmed last month, but baseball hopes to gain reinstatement for 2016.
Rob Manfred, executive vice president for labor relations in the commissioner’s office, acknowledged the accuracy of Pound’s claim that any positive tests were not announced among players on 60-man preliminary rosters who were cut from 30-man final rosters.
Manfred said Olympic officials were aware of that before the tournament, which began March 3. He would not say whether there were any positive tests in that group.
Pound, who has repeatedly criticized major league baseball’s regular drug-testing rules, also claimed ephedrine, human growth hormone and DHEA were not banned by the WBC, an assertion Manfred denied. The WADA statement, according to Manfred, was “rife with factual inaccuracies.”
“It’s another example of WADA president Richard Pound attempting to place baseball in a bad light based on his ignorance of the true facts,” Manfred said.
Pound said if the WBC did not publicly disclose its drug-testing policy, “WADA will be left no choice but to declare the WBC noncompliant with the world doping standard.”
“Baseball officials have resisted repeated offers of assistance as well as requests from WADA for a copy of the anti-doping policy,” Pound said.
Gene Orza, the union’s chief operating officer, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Allegations that the WBC was not complying with WADA’s code were first reported Tuesday by ESPN.com.
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