Report: UK lifetime doping ban illegal

Updated: April 29, 2012, 7:44 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- Sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar will be eligible to compete for Britain at the London Games after the country's lifetime Olympic ban for doping offenders was found to be unlawful by sports' top court.

A Court of Arbitration for Sport panel has decided the British Olympic Association's 20-year-old bylaw now violates the World Anti-Doping Agency code, a person familiar with the ruling said Sunday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the CAS verdict is not being publicly released until Monday.

Britain, the only country to enforce lifetime bans for dopers, will now have to remove the sanction from its Olympic regulations.

And both Chambers and Millar, who have worked with authorities to help officials crack down on doping, can try to qualify to represent Britain at the July 27-Aug. 12 Olympics.

Chambers, who won a bronze medal in the 60 meters at the world indoor championships in March, served a two-year ban after testing positive for the steroid THG in 2003. Millar was suspended in 2004 for two years after testing positive for the blood-boosting agent EPO.

Andy Turner, who won bronze for Britain in the 110-meter hurdles at last year's world championships, welcomed the CAS ruling.

Turner wrote on Twitter: "either make lifetime ban for drug cheats worldwide or scrap it completely. the world wont follow britains rules so im happy 4 dwain. i know my opinion will annoy people but i dont care. i see convicted drug cheats competing on the world stage all the time."

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper first reported Sunday on its website that the BOA had lost its case, which was heard by a three-man CAS panel in March.

The BOA confirmed it has received the decision, but would not reveal its contents.

BOA chairman Colin Moynihan has said previously that life bans were essential in protecting the integrity of the Olympics, arguing that the games should be "a big celebration of sport and not a competition between chemists' laboratories."

But Britain's lifetime bans have been under threat since last year when CAS threw out the International Olympic Committee rule that bars athletes who have received drug bans of more than six months from competing in the next games.

The CAS ruling cleared the way for American 400-meter runner LaShawn Merritt to defend his Olympic title in London. Merritt completed a 21-month doping ban last year.

The IOC's defeat at CAS was followed by WADA declaring Britain "noncompliant" with its global code because lifetime bans amount to a second sanction after an initial doping ban.

Britain's Olympic body was never confident it would be allowed to retain lifetime Olympic bans and urged WADA earlier this month to introduce mandatory four-year bans for drug cheats as a minimum.

The current WADA code has a provision for four-year bans, but few federations opt to impose sanctions beyond the standard two years.

"Too often WADA has failed to catch the serious doping cheats -- which, to its credit, WADA acknowledges," the BOA said.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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