U.K. athletes to face shorter bans for recreational drug use

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The U.K. Anti-Doping organization is changing its rules, reports Canex.

Athletes who fail drug tests for cannabis and cocaine use will face shorter bans as the organization looks to place a greater focus on performance-enhancing drugs. The reform is part of a wider movement focused on athlete welfare, and the acceptance of widening cannabis use.

Additionally, it brings the organization in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency, which announced similar changes this week.

Under the new WADA rules, testing positive for recreational drugs out of competition will result in a one to three-month ban, instead of two years, reports CBC.

“We have developed the new rules to ensure that we are able to meet the latest challenges threatening clean sport and that athletes and the public can have confidence in clean competition,” said UKAD Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead.

Other changes to the UKAD, however, could mean longer bans for some athletes. Such as an additional two years tacked onto a ban if an athlete tests positive for multiple prohibited substances, for example.

Both UKAD and WADA will also add protections to ensure that whistleblowers who reveal information about doping are protected. Attempts to block information from coming out will count as a separate violation. Falsifying documents will also lead to a ban.

Last month, Wilson Kipsang, a former marathon world record holder from Kenya, was banned for four years for using a fake photo of a traffic accident to explain a missed appointment, reports CBC.

“Our job will be working with athletes and sports, so they are aware of how the changes impact them and what they need to do to make sure they are working to the rules by the new year,” Sapstead said in a statement.

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