The head of the Turin Olympic Organizing Committee has run into growing opposition to his proposal to suspend Italy's tough anti-doping laws during the Winter Games in February.
Mario Pescante and the International Olympic Committee both want the laws put on hold during the Games, which run from February 10 to the 26. Under IOC rules, athletes face disqualification from the Olympics and two-year bans for any doping offense during the games.
But under the harsher Italian laws, athletes could face criminal sanctions for doping violations. The law also raises the possibility of police raids in the Olympic village. Pescante believes fear of the tough laws could keep some athletes from attending the Games.
Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said Tuesday he is personally against suspending the laws. Earlier this month, Health Minister Francesco Storace also came out against Pescante's proposal, saying that "rewarding sports champions by de-penalizing the use of drugs at the Turin Olympics is unthinkable."
However, World Anti-Doping Agency President Dick Pound expressed concern over Italy's legislation, saying the Olympic rules and WADA code were meant to force doping athletes out of sport, not put them in jail.
Some information for this report provided by AP.