London, Jan 1: Athletes convicted of doping will face a minimum four–year ban under new rules which came into effect from January 1.
Changes to the World Anti–Doping Code increased the suspension for doping from two years. Other changes include less leniency given for missed tests but possible reduced bans for helping investigators.
The revised code was agreed to by the World Anti–Doping Agency (WADA) in November 2014.
UK Sports Minister Helen Grant said the changes would "better protect clean athletes around the world".
"Successful implementation will mean an innovative and robust anti–doping programme that reaches further than ever before, to more athletes, more support personnel and more sport lovers, all of who want to be part of sport free from doping," she was quoted as saying by bbc.com on Thursday. "We will see tougher sanctions – not just for athletes, but also for those who assist in the doping process." IANS