by VeloNation Press at 8:30 PM EST
Austria’s sports and justice ministers announced an amendment on Monday to make the punishment for dopers more severe. In the amendment, athletes that have been caught doping would face serious fraud charges and up to 10 years in prison.
Austria’s current law only punishes the possession and the sale of banned substances as a criminal offense, meaning it doesn’t apply to the actual users of the drugs.
After several high profile doping scandals in the country, including cyclist Bernhard Kohl and several of the nation’s prominent skiers, lawmakers have decided to take action. Additional doping penalties that target dopers are included in an amendment to the national fraud act.
The changes are awaiting ratification by parliament this year, and are expected to be in place by the new year.
This latest development comes in the wake of several positive strides in the anti-doping movement, including the International Cycling Union’s successes with the biological passport system.