Officials descend on Johannesburg for anti-doping conference

The final draft of the World Anti-Doping Code will be discussed in Johannesburg during the four-day meeting

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — World sports leaders will meet in Johannesburg starting Tuesday to decide the future of the anti-doping battle, a year after cyclist Lance Armstrong’s fall from glory.

The doping police will consider stricter punishments for transgressors, as the repercussions of the disgraced Tour de France hero’s confession to using banned substances are still felt in the sports world.

A few thousand delegates are expected at the Sandton Convention Centre for the four-day World Conference on Doping in Sport amid frosty relations between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and international sporting bodies.

Formal talks are expected starting Wednesday.

The conference will discuss the final draft of the third World Anti-Doping Code, which doubles bans of caught-out dopers from two years to four, which implies automatic disqualification from the next Olympics.

Less than one percent of doping checks give an abnormal result, although tests have jumped from 150,000 a year to 250,000 since WADA’s creation in 1999.

The conference will also most likely confirm incoming president Craig Reedie’s appointment, after his nomination by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The 72-year-old Scotsman served on London’s 2012 Olympics organizing committee and has been an IOC vice president since last year.