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South Africa: Flag at Risk in Rugby & Cricket World Cups due to Doping Non-Compliance

South African fans waves the South African national flag while they cheer during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series men's semi finalin Cape Town, on December 15, 2019..   -  
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South Africa

The South African flag faces potential exclusion from the upcoming rugby and cricket World Cups this month unless the country's national anti-doping body appeals the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) recent declaration of non-compliance.

The consequences of WADA's decision will take effect on October 14th, affecting South African teams currently participating in these two tournaments. Khalid Galant, CEO of the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport, the national anti-doping body, stated on Thursday that they are likely to file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport by the October 13th deadline. This appeal would prevent the sanctions from being enforced, and they would remain suspended until either the appeal is resolved or South Africa meets WADA's requirements.

Additionally, as long as South Africa remains non-compliant, it will be unable to host international sports competitions. If this issue persists, it could jeopardize the display of the South African flag at the upcoming Paris Olympics and Paralympics next year.

WADA's decision to declare South Africa non-compliant is based on the country's failure to align its national doping laws with WADA's latest international code, which came into effect in 2021.

Galant said it was “technical” and included the country needing to pass a new law that updates the definition of various doping terms. He said that there was no problem with South Africa's anti-doping program or drug-testing process.

The Rainbow Nation would become compliant again by changing its law, but that is expected to take much longer because it requires a political process and an act of Parliament. South African Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa said last month that work was underway to amend legislation, although he gave no timeframe for how long it would take.

South Africa is rugby's defending World Cup champion. Its next game at the Rugby World Cup in France is likely to be a quarter-final match on Oct. 15, if the last round of group play goes as expected. The Cricket World Cup in India started on Thursday, and South Africa plays its first game on Saturday.

Bermuda was also declared non-compliant by WADA for not updating its legislation.

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