Wada hits back over BOA’s lifetime ban for drugs cheats
British Olympic Association officials vow to defend their right to maintain a lifetime ban for drugs cheats
British Olympic Association officials have vowed to “vigorously defend” their right to maintain a lifetime Games ban for drugs cheats, despite the World Anti-Doping Agency formally declaring their position “non-complaint” with their binding code.
The decision of Wada’s foundation board was taken after a week in which tension between the two sports organisations reached boiling point, with BOA chairman Colin Moynihan and anti-doping chief John Fahey exchanging sharp words in far from diplomatic language.
Great Britain is the only country to impose a life ban, Denmark recently dropped their similar position, on athletes found guilty of doping and the row now looks destined for the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
And following their recent decision to throw out the International Olympic Committee’s controversial rule 45, which banned any athletes who received a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next Games, the BOA’s much hardline position looks legally flawed.
Earlier this week Moynihan slammed Wada practices and protocols in a strongly-worded and clearly pre-emptive speech, claiming their opposition to the BOA position risked dragging the anti-doping fight into the “dark age” and that their approach to clean sport was increasingly “toothless”.
“I’m very disappointed that it’s come to this,” said Wada president John Fahey.
“I believe that Wada has acted very properly from the moment that we got news of the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision. We asked them (the BOA) to consider their decision.
“We had their decision conveyed to us through a vitriolic spray in a speech that was circulated to everyone except us earlier this week. It was subsequently formally conveyed in a letter on Friday.”
Compliance with the Wada code is a condition of any nations’ entry to the Olympics and the ultimate sanction is to ban that nation from the competition. However, Moynihan has already said he would comply with any decision made by CAS, sport’s highest legal authority.
In a statement issued tonight the BOA said Wada’s board had brought “clarity and closure to the dispute”.
It added: “We look forward to receiving the formal findings from Wada setting out how they have determined the BOA’s selection policy is non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.
“On behalf of the overwhelming majority of British athletes we will vigorously defend any challenge to the selection policy which bans drug cheats from representing Team GB and we will publish the process we intend to follow in the near future.”