BOA Likely to Test Out By-Law Against WADA Ruling involving Drug Cheats

November 16, 2011

World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) ruling to allow convicted drug cheats back to the Olympics has been challenged by the British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Lord Moynihan.

The BOA are one of the few countries not adopting this rule and instead will carry on not to allow serious doing offenders back into the Olympics. The BOA board have discussed testing their by-law in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

But Lord Moynihan, the BOA chairman, would prefer to stick to his hardline stance by awaiting a legal challenge, rather than inviting one, it is believed some of his 18 fellow board members are likely to choose the more pragmatic course of seeking clarification, albeit reluctantly.

If that view prevails and last night it looked the more probable outcome  the CAS would decide whether to support the WADA, who say that the by-law goes beyond the sanctions they have laid down, or the BOA.

Speaking to iSportconnect, Sir Craig Reedie a former chairman of BOA and now an International Olympic Council member said: “The BOA by-law has been in force for 20 years and has stood the test of time. The present situation with a CAS ruling against the IOC Rule 45 weakens the fight against doping-in-sport. The BOA by-law is now scrutinised in light of the CAS decision. A full debate may result in a consensus view emerging and possible future amendment to the WADA Code.”

Should WADA win the case, Dwain Chambers, Britain’s leading 100m  sprinter who was banned for using the designer steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) in 2003, would be eligible for next summer’s Olympics.

Cyclist David Millar, who confessed to taking erythropoetin (EPO), would also be free to help Mark Cavendish ride for the road race gold medal.

However, Lord Moynihan is unwilling to concede defeat to WADA, a position he laid out yesterday in a fierce attack on the agency’s role in a new ‘dark age’ of cheating.

‘We now have a situation where drugs cheats will be able to compete in London 2012,’ he said. ‘We must decide: is the outcome we want a watered-down, increasingly toothless gesture towards zero tolerance?’

Sarah Ellson, Partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP (specialise in sports regulations) has delved into this topic on a iSportconnect discussion much deeper. “In professional regulation we regulate to “protect the public”, to “maintain and uphold standards” and to ensure “trust and confidence,” she said.

“Regulatory sanctions are aimed at this, and any punitive effect is acknowledged to be a by-product. It seems the language of the BOA is about punishment for cheats but when you focus on punishing there is a risk of disproportionate and inflexible sanctions. The sports’ bodies need to be clear about their intentions.

“It seems to me there is scope for bans which potentially last a lifetime but with the option of restoration (not overturning the ban but reviewing it after a minimum period of time). Such a model can maintain integrity and reputation in sport and keep out, for an appropriate period, those deemed unsuitable to compete.”

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