BOA Chairman Quietly Confident Drug Ban By-Law will Stand

By Community | March 13, 2012

British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Colin Moynihan has revealed his positivity about retaining his organisation’s controversial lifetime ban ruling on convicted drug cheats following the all-important hearing from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Moynihan attended the hearing in person here at Tower 42 on Old Broad Street in London as the BOA put forward their case via external legal advisor Lord David Pannick QC of Blackstone to a three-man CAS panel in their attempt to overturn the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruling that declared its anti-doping bylaw non-compliant.

Should the appeal prove unsuccessful, which is considered likely, convicted drug cheats like sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar will be able to be selected to compete for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

But Moynihan admits he is quietly confident that the BOA will be able to defend their stance after the hearing and predicted that the CAS panel will reach a decision on the dispute within a month.

“It was a good day where all the arguments were put very strongly by both sides,” said Moynihan at the conclusion of the hearing. One of the questions that we put [to the CAS panel] was to try and get a resolution as soon as possible.

“My expectation is about a month but we don’t want it any longer than that because it is in the interest of the athletes that they know what the outcome will be so they can start preparing for London 2012 as soon as possible.

“But we don’t anticipate the finding before mid-April. But today was good. There was good work and outstanding legal representation.

“Lord Pannick [who represented the BOA when they successfully resisted a claim in the High Court by Chambers to allow him to compete at the Beijing 2008 Olympics] was really first rate.

“He spoke for us at length, did all the presentations throughout the day and was truly exceptional in pulling together all the strands of our case.

“But above all, the voice of the athletes came over strong and loud and I think they were listened to today. So I am cautiously optimistic.”

Moynihan continued that his biggest concern after the case is that the BOA loses their appeal because he feels they are representing the greatest concerns of the athletes.

“The greatest concern is that we don’t win,” he said.

“That is because we represent the athletes, who have always voted that we take a tough line on those who knowingly cheat. We have had this bylaw in place for 20 years and it has always had the full support of the athletes. 

“We have done our best to represent the athletes and the 204 National Olympic Committees should have the right to select the athletes they wish to select. But the findings may dwell on the finer legal points rather than the greater moral issue here.”

by Ismail Uddin