BOA chairman calls for tougher doping sanctions
Colin Moynihan wants the World Anti-Doping Agency to reform and see tougher sanctions for drugs cheats
British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan has called for a review of the World Anti-Doping Agency and urged others to follow his hard-line stance in the fight against performance enhancing drugs.
Moynihan has been criticised for maintaining Team GB’s unique byelaw, which prevents any athlete convicted of a serious doping suspension from ever competing at the Olympics.
Some claim the recent Court of Arbitration in Sport decision, which overturned the International Olympic Committee’s less stringent one Games ban, made the BOA’s position increasingly isolated and legally flawed.
And their cause was not helped when the Danish national Olympic committee also abandoned their similar position last week, claiming CAS’s recent ruling had made it “invalid and unenforceable”.
But speaking to a forum of international federations and national Olympic committees in Lausanne, Moynihan went on the offensive – and pulled no punches.
“In recent days, much has been made of the fact that there is no room for redemption in the BOA’s lifetime ban,” he said.
“It is argued that Olympic values should include the indulgence of human frailty, forgiveness and redemption and that the mark of a true justice system is the prospect of reform and redemption that it offers.
“These are important values and society as a whole is defined and enhanced by our recognition and adoption of them. To err, after all, is human.
“However, I believe we need to ask where in this case is the redemption for the clean athlete denied selection by a competitor who has knowingly cheated, taking the whole “enchilada” of drugs? There is no national team kit for that clean athlete. No redemption for him.
“And what is worse the cheat, possibly with a lifelong benefit of a course of growth hormones and other drugs, is back again. Under the current Wada Code, if he times his two year ban correctly he is ready to deny another clean athlete selection for the following Olympic Games.
“Both those clean athletes who with their coaches have given their lives to compete fairly face the prospect of never being selected in their lifetime. There is no redemption for them. ”
Moynihan also claimed the London 2012 Olympics would be weaker for the recent CAS decision and also urged Wada, whose former chairman Dick Pound has questioned the legal validity of the BOA’s lifetime ban, to review its own processes and protocols.
“Regrettably, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the ten years since its creation, Wada has been unable to achieve its own, well intentioned, objectives,” he said.
“The inflexible penalty system and a failure to recognise a clear distinction between cheating, and clerical errors or mistakes has alienated many athletes who feel they have been stigmatised by the system as “˜guilty before proven innocent’.
“So now is a time for change, now is a time for informed review, and now is a time to refocus on our drive to identify those who knowingly cheat their fellow competitors.
“We now have a situation where drugs cheats will be able to compete in London 2012 and we have to decide if this is the outcome we want: a watered-down and increasingly toothless gesture towards zero tolerance or whether the driving rationale behind the IOC’s former rule 45 and the BOA byelaw should be incorporated into a global anti-doping policy so that doping punishments encompass not only sanctions but the wholly separate questions of eligibility for competition too.”