By Steve Keating
MONTREAL (Reuters) - Six countries could find themselves banned from the Olympics and other major sporting competitions, an impatient World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) warned on Wednesday after declaring the nations non-compliant.
North Korea, El Salvador, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Sierra Leone and Virgin Islands (U.S.) were all deemed to be out of step with the revised WADA code after failing to provide the agency with draft rules or information about their rules drafting process.
"We came across a very small number of people who have done precisely nothing for a period of 17-18 months and they have had seven or eight reminders," WADA president Sir Craig Reedie said at the conclusion of Wednesday's Foundation Board meeting.
"At the end of the day, the whole compliance system will collapse if you don't have some form of sanctions.
"My guess is that the information that they might be declared non-compliant might just encourage the anti-doping people of North Korea to (take action)...and become compliant."
After accepting the code, nations must then determine how it would be implemented with rules and policies. These anti-doping rules must then be submitted to WADA for review in order to determine if they are in line with the revised code.
Reedie made it clear that it is now be the responsibility of the governments in those six countries, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to decide on the consequences.
Having grown weary of chasing the code laggards, Reedie indicated he was happy to turn the matter over to the IOC while offering help to push through the necessary changes.
"We are not in the business of keeping them out of sport, we're in the business of them having a proper set of rules," explained Reedie.
"Our obligation and our duty is to tell people whether they are compliant or not and pass it up the line to the IOC or other major event organizers and it is up to them to take the steps.
"I think these countries will become compliant but, at the end of the day, if you have a compliant system you can't allow a whole range of people to do precisely nothing and carry on."
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)