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UNESCO chief heralds United States push to ratify anti-doping pact

UNESCO chief heralds United States push to ratify anti-doping pact

Calling doping in sport “a veritable plague,” the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has welcomed the decision by United States President George W. Bush to ask his country’s Senate to ratify a major anti-doping convention.

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, said in a statement from the agency’s headquarters in Paris on Friday that he hopes the Senate will now quickly ratify the International Convention against Doping in Sport.

“This convention is a vital weapon in the struggle to eliminate a destructive practice that undermines everything that sport stands for… The rapid ratification of the Convention by the US Senate, in this Olympic year, would send a powerful message to athletes around the world that such behaviour will not be tolerated,” he said.

Since it was adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in October 2005, the pact has been ratified by 75 countries and entered into force in February last year.

The Convention calls on States Parties to support, devise or implement anti-doping education and training programmes and to promote the active participation of their athletes and support personnel in all aspects of the anti-doping process.

The text of the pact also stipulates that all the world’s athletes be subject to the same doping rules and that they are regularly tested, with uniform sanctions and penalties for any infractions.