CAS sets March date to rule on BOA’s lifetime drugs cheats ban
David Millar & Dwain Chambers could be chief beneficiaries if Court of Arbitration for Sport overturn their doping bans
Dwain Chambers and David Millar will know whether they will have their lifetime Olympic bans lifted in just over two months.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport will rule on whether the British Olympic Association’s controversial lifetime ban for doping cheats is contrary to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s binding code following a hearing on March 12th.
BOA officials, led by chairman Colin Moynihan, referred the issue to sport’s highest legal authority in Lausanne and had expressed a desire that CAS reach its final decision by April, in order to bring clarity to selection decisions.
They argue that Olympic Charter allows them to select whoever they like without interference and want to maintain their prized byelaw, which was introduced by former BOA chairman Sir Arthur Gold in the early 1990’s in response to the growing use of performance enhancing substances.
But officials from WADA claim it amounts to a double punishment and believe they have legal precedent on their side, after CAS last year forced the International Olympic Committee to abandon a similar, although less hardline rule, which prevented any athlete from competing in a Games that followed a doping conviction.
Sprinter Chambers, the world indoor 60m champion, and cyclist Millar – a key part of Mark Cavendish’s world road race wining team and former time trial world silver medallist – are seen as the key beneficiaries of a change in the regulations.
But BOA officials claim that surveys show 95 per cent of Team GB athletes support their lifetime ban position, although Mark Cavendish has already said he believes Millar, who has become an outspoken advocate for clean sport since two-year ban expired in 2006, should be allowed to compete.
The British Olympic Association will be represented by Lord Pannick QC, who was their legal counsel when Chambers challenged their rules in the High Court ahead of the Beijing Games. He will be supported by Adam Lewis QC and Tom Cassells.
“The BOA selection policy is a direct expression of the commitment British athletes have made to uphold the values of fair play, integrity and clean competition ““ values that are at the heart of Olympic sport,” said Moynihan.