On Thursday, 24 May, Latvia’s Saeima supported amendments to the Sports Law that provide for improving anti-doping regulation in the country and improve the autonomy of the anti-doping organization through the establishment of Latvian Anti-Doping Bureau, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.
«Amendments are needed because the World Anti-Doping Agency has found significant problems in Latvia’s anti-doping system and insufficient autonomy of the supervisory institution. This could have a strong impact on Latvia’s sports and athletes’ ability to participate in international events. It is unacceptable for us to put at risk our athletes like that,» said chairman of Saeima’s Education, Culture and Science Committee Aldis Adamovičs about the legislative draft.
As noted by the draft’s authors in Healthcare Ministry, non-compliance with World Anti-Doping Code could potentially put at risk Latvian athletes’ participation in Olympic Games.
Additional finances will be allocated to improve the anti-doping system this year. It is also planned to increase the number of laboratory tests to 1,000 using this funding. Insufficient funding was one of the main problems uncovered by the World Anti-Doping Agency in Latvia.
The anti-doping sector is under the State Sport Medicine Centre’s supervision. The newly-formed Latvian Anti-Doping Bureau will be formed by reorganizing the State Sports Medicine Centre. After reorganization, the new institution will fall under the country’s Healthcare Minister’s direct jurisdiction.
The new centre will be responsible for compliance with anti-doping convention’s rules and introduction of National Anti-Doping rules. The legislative draft provides that National Anti-Doping rules are to be developed by the Cabinet of Ministers by 30 June 2019.
Latvia’s Anti-Doping Centre will prepare annual doping control plans and databases for tested athletes. The legislative draft also governs other functions of the bureau, including collection of samples and performance of lab tests in a laboratory certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
It is also planned to form a disciplinary anti-doping committee that will handle cases of violations and decide on application of penalties.
The new law will come to force 1 July.