Hot topic: Is it Wickmayer's ban fair?

U.S. Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer was suspended last week for one year by a Belgian anti-doping tribunal, accused of failing to report her whereabouts to drug-testing officials three times. Wickmayer's suspension came as a surprise, because a prosecutor recommended she receive only a warning for missing three tests over 18 months. (read the article on Yahoo! Sports)

At a tearful news conference last Thursday, Wickmayer said she was never properly informed of the online reporting requirements for drug-testing that led to her one-year ban from the sport. The 20 years-old Belgian plans to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.(read the transcript on HCFoo's Tennis Blog)

In my opinion, Wickmayer's ban is far too extreme, given that she didn't fail or miss any dopping test (she just failed reporting her whereabouts), it is proven that the online report system didn't work properly and the players didn't receive information nor education on the system and procedures. A warning would have been more appropiate as the prosecutor recommended. This way they may ruin the career of a young player who probably is not into doping and has received a harder punishment than other players who were tested positive (i.e. Richard Gasquet only was 2 months away from Tour after being tested positive for cocaine).

Appart form unfairness of this ban to Wickmayer, whom we support from this blog, this bring two important problems of anti-doping laws:

- Why the rules, system and tribunal are not the same for players all around the world? Instead, they must stick to their countries authorities. If Wickmayer was not Belgian, she probably wouldn't have been banned. Belgian authorities have already been proved too be excessively strict concerning anti-doping rules, as in 2004 when they wrongly acussed Svetlana Kuznetsova of doping (read it on CNN.com)

- Is it fair that players have to communicate where they are at any time and be available for testing 365 days a year? Many players, as ATP No.2 Rafael Nadal, have already complained about this. This is really problematic for tennis players, as they spend 10 months out of home and their plans are always changing depending on if they are accepted into a tournament, in which round they lose, if they are healthy or must withdraw from a tournament... I think for tennis players it would be easier to test in tournaments, and only test out-of-competition in the off-season or when a player takes a 3-4 week break from tournaments.

So, what's your oppinion on this hot topic?

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