The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India may face anthem penalty

New Delhi: None of the Asian countries including India have paid their share of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s operating budget for this year and the defaulters could face sanctions.

These include not being allowed to have their flag carried in Olympic ceremonies or not playing their national anthem if their athlete wins.

The executive committee which met in Montreal on Saturday took stock of the situation and decided that WADA would make no further financial commitments until an additional $7 million of the Agency’s budget for 2003 has been received.

If the crisis prolongs it will reduce activities including education campaigns and research funding.

Asia’s share of the operating budget comes to 20.46 per cent of which WADA has not received a penny till Friday. Among the Asian countries, the largest defaulter is Japan, whose share works out to 17.68 per cent or $ 1,502,800.

In comparison, India at 0.19 per cent is yet to pay its $16,150 for this year, supposed to have been paid by December 31. Last year, India paid $16,125.

According to WADA’s statutes, stakeholders must pay their contributions for any given year before December 31 of the preceding year. The Olympic movement matches dollar for dollar contributions made by governments.

“It is truly disheartening that we are in a situation where we cannot currently fulfil a number of our obligations because our stakeholders cannot honour their commitments to pay on time,” said WADA president Richard Pound.

“Our ability to carry on the fight against doping in sport, which everyone believes is important, is now being seriously compromised by the failure of those stakeholders who have not paid what they have promised to pay on time.”

Pound said he’s already discussed the matter with International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

But Pound said banning athletes from competing is not seen as an option, as such a move would be unfair to the competitors.

WADA is yet to receive the majority of its funding for 2003. As of last Friday, it had only received $6.5 million, or approximately 30 per cent of its budget. The majority of this came from an advance from the Olympic movement.

Incidentally, South Africa and Mauritius have paid their share. Countries that have recently paid their dues include Canada, the UK and Austria. (PTI)

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