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11. 11. 09. - 12:00

Harsher penalties for doping athletes on tap

By William Green

The governing coalition parties, the Social Democrats (SP) and the Peoples Party (VP), have agreed on the need for criminal prosecution of athletes who take drugs.

SP Sports Minister Norbert Darabos announced yesterday (Tues) the two parties had agreed on the need to amend paragraph 147 (serious fraud) of the Austrian criminal code in cooperation with the justice ministry to have it apply to such athletes.

He said: "Doping offenders create for themselves an illegal advantage in terms not only of competition but also in terms of financial compensation. Doping is not a petty crime. What is presently anchored in the criminal code in that regard must be changed."

Parliaments anti-doping sub-committee and its sports committee were to take up the issue at meetings this afternoon. It is unclear when the amendment will be passed, but Darabos reportedly wants that done by 1 January 2010.

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