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Britain Seeks 4-Year Doping Ban, 1 Games

May 1, 2012  - Craig Lord

Colin Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA), has described as a "hollow victory" the World Anti-Doping Agency's victory at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which overturned Britain's lifetime Olympic ban on doping cheats.

In a statement to the media, Sir Colin pledged to press hard for a tougher WADA Code that actually kept cheats out of the sporting arena and not helped them get back in after having cheated. He said: "The BOA is clearly very disappointed in the outcome. No doubt for athletes, coaches, administrators and others in international sport who want to see greater progress made in the fight against doping, this will be seen as a hollow victory for WADA.

"We live in difficult days when WADA spends time and money reducing those countries, such as Canada, New Zealand and ourselves, which have taken a determined stance against drug cheats in sport, to [impose] a two-year ban which, as Sir Steve Redgrave said, is tantamount to almost saying it is acceptable.

"It is also wrong in our view that all 204 National Olympic Committees around the world now have to hand over their selection policy towards drug cheats and to WADA or face court action.

"Today, we must now move the discussion forward, and we will engage and lead in a global campaign to seek fundamental and far-reaching reform to WADA.

"We have already submitted a set of recommendations to WADA as part of the ongoing World Anti-Doping Code Review process.

"We will be actively involved in that process, we will be vocal in that process, principally calling for tougher, more realistic sanctions for serious first-time doping offenders: a minimum of four years, including one Games.

"We will be seeking testing measures that are more proactive, more reliable, and treat athletes with greater fairness and consistency -for example, biological passports.

"We will be calling for the autonomy of National Olympic Committees to be respected, particularly in determining their selection policies for the Olympic team.

"We will be looking to an approach that doesn't bind all NOCs to what is effectively the lowest common denominator of sanctions.

"If some NOCs wish to take a position that is tougher than that global benchmark they should be permitted to do so, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should be free to reintroduce its Rule 45 'Osaka Rule' [ban on convicted doping cheats from future Games] if it so wishes.

"We will be calling on WADA to operate in a manner that is decidedly more efficient and effective, and more in touch with the athletes from all 204 National Olympic Committees."

Moynihan revealed that the cost of CAS process was less than £100,000.

"WADA argued very strongly before CAS that, in the event that the British Olympic Association lost, we should pay not just our own costs but WADA's costs as well," he said.

"I'm very pleased to read in the findings that we have won our argument on that point “ and our argument was that each party should bear its own costs relative to the findings.

"In terms of the CAS process itself, we will be covering those costs and we are very comfortable with the CAS decision on that particular point.

"The net result of all of that is that we anticipate the full cost to the British Olympic Association to be less than the budgeted figure of £100,000.

"It is good news for the athletes because it means we can spend additional money on them; that £100,000 covers the cost of the arbitration and our lawyer's fees. So we were within budget on the cost of this."

The overwhelming verdict of British athletes was anti-WADA/anti-CAS/anti-doping - a few examples:

  • Cassie Patten (Swimming, Olympic medallist, merathon) - "I am angered that drug cheats will be able to compete at the Olympics! joke! If your not prepared to work hard and not cheat don't compete!"
  • Paula Radcliffe (athletics) - "So now the biggest deterrent in our sport for cheating other athletes, yourself and the public is 2 years - LAME"
  • Kelly Sotherton (Heptathlon) - "2nd chances/ forgiveness....all the sportspeople who've been cheated out of medals etc can have that too, sadly no, who supports them? Me"
  • Roger Black (athletics) - "It's a sad day. It's hard to cheer someone on who's purposefully tried to cheat other athletes. I'm not going to boo him, I'm just going to be indifferent."
  • Steve Backley (Javelin) - "WADA: overly reasonable people policing the unreasonable; fairness offered to the grossly unfair. The world's gone soft."
  • Nathan Robertson (Badminton) - "disgraceful"