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FICA Chief Tony Irish questions WADA program after Kusal Perera clean chit

FICA Chief Tony Irish questions WADA program after Kusal Perera clean chit
Kusal Perera's provisional ban was lifted by ICC after an independent expert review in a Qatar laboratory.
©REUTERS / Action Images

The executive chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA) has raised doubts over the efficacy of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) program when it comes to safeguarding clean cricketers in the aftermath of the incident involving Sri Lanka’s Kusal Perera.

Based on the submissions from Perera’s legal team, the International Cricket Council (ICC) conducted an independent expert review which said that the laboratory findings were not sustainable as there was a chance that the banned substance was produced naturally in the player’s body.

After receiving the findings of the independent expert review from the ICC, the WADA accredited laboratory in Qatar withdrew the Adverse Analytical Finding and reported an Atypical Finding.

Soon, the ICC lifted the provisional suspension on Perera and cleared him to resume international cricket with immediate effect.

The ICC also said that it has sought urgent explanation from the laboratory in Qatar and the WADA in order to ensure that such incidents don’t repeat in the future.

Irish is pleased that the correct result has been achieved in the case of Perera, but he has raised doubts over the WADA code and its suitability to the game of cricket.

Open to discussing the matter with the ICC, Irish said that the incident involving Perera has only highlighted the concerns held by the FICA.

“We are pleased that the right result has been achieved and welcome the decision,” said Irish.

“The case highlights many of the pre-existing concerns held by FICA and athlete representatives around the world around the inflexibility and unfairness of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, the requirement for sports to be compliant and its appropriateness for sophisticated team sports such as cricket.

“We have voiced these concerns to the ICC over the past year, and will seek to discuss this further
“The concerns raised have included the view that the WADA program is ineffective in safeguarding the interests of clean athletes and is open to penalties being imposed on players who are not ‘cheats’.

“However, the game must ensure that any measures are effective and tailored to the game of cricket.”

Meanwhile, a relieved Perera has thanked Sri Lanka Cricket and the fans for believing in him and asserted that his primary focus is to return to international cricket in the shortest possible time.

“I want to start practising and get back to international cricket at the earliest,” he added.

“I thank my fans and the board, who stood by me during this trying period.

“I knew I would be cleared and am relieved that all this is over.

“I want to get back to form.”

Earlier on Thursday, former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara has pushed for the inclusion of Perera in the squad for the tour of Sri Lanka.

© Cricket World 2016