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Germany set to jail athletes found guilty of doping

BERLIN: Germany is set to introduce a tough anti-doping law next year which would mean a prison sentence of up to three years for athletes found guilty of using doping products.

"The aim of the law is to preserve the integrity or sport and to combat doping," said Germany's Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere in a Berlin press conference. The 46-page draft of the new law, which is set to be adopted in 2015, means for the first time athletes who have failed both the A and B doping test can be prosecuted.

Under the new law, possession of doping products would also be a punishable offence, regardless of the amount. "That is a statement for clean sport and a challenge to those who dope," added Germany's minister of justice Heiko Maas. "We believe that this is a milestone and the law has been long over-due."

The proposal also includes a maximum sentence of up to 10 years, in extreme cases, for those found guilty of supplying athletes with doping substances. The law will apply to around 7,000 sportsmen and women regularly tested by Germany's National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) across a range of sports. "We want to say this is not just something that concerns sport, but this is a punishable behaviour, which society as a whole believes should be punishable," added De Maiziere.

The new law would also mean that data and documents from Germany's courts or state prosecutors would have to be handed over to NADA on request. The draft, however, lacks a principal regulation to counter a doping network, as in the case of former cyclist Lance Armstrong for example, and also under the new laws physicians could not be made to testify.

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