WADA blasts Britain for appealing Olympic ban
The World Anti-Doping Agency accused Britain's national Olympic body Tuesday of "wasting a lot of time and money" in its failed attempt to uphold lifetime Olympic bans for drug offenders.
WADA director general David Howman said the British Olympic Association should have dropped its rule months ago and was wrong to fall out of line with the rest of the world in the first place.
The BOA took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled Monday that the British bylaw was invalid because it amounted to an extra sanction and failed to comply with WADA's global code.
"At the end of the day they have wasted a lot of time and a lot of money and got the inevitable result," Howman said in a conference call.
The CAS decision cleared the way for British sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar, who served two-year doping bans, to be eligible for selection for the London Olympics.
Howman said the BOA has until May 18 to revoke its rule or face being reported to the International Olympic Committee for remaining "noncompliant" with the code.
The CAS ruling was in line with its decision in October, when it threw out an International Olympic Committee rule which barred athletes who had received doping bans of more than six months from competing in the next games.
In both rulings, CAS said the Olympic bans represented a second sanction and violated the WADA code.
"Both the IOC and the BOA were original signatories to the whole WADA setup," Howman said. "They abide by it. It comes down to something as simple as that."
Howman criticized BOA chairman Colin Moynihan for describing the verdict as a "hollow victory for WADA."
"Their appeal was totally rejected," Howman said. "The issue for the BOA is that the rest of the world is looking on saying, 'What have you done this for?"'
Earlier in a New Zealand radio interview, Howman said the BOA was being "held up to ridicule" for its handling of the issue.
He rejected suggestions that the BOA took the moral high ground by sticking to its position on life bans.
"There was an opportunity last October for the BOA to take the high ground to say, 'We don't like this, but we accept it,"' Howman said in the teleconference.
The BOA is now pushing WADA to change the code to include a minimum four-year ban for a first serious offence. Howman said the longer bans may not stand up in court and WADA would take independent legal advice on any proposed changes.
Howman said WADA has 18 months to review possible changes in the code to allow for any tougher sanctions, including Olympic bans. The IOC has said it will try to include its previous rule in the next version of the code.
"You've got to sit back and look at the reality rather than looking at it with emotion," Howman said. "Once you do that the world will reach a consensus. … We need a set of rules where every athlete in the world is treated the same."
Sebastian Coe, the two-time Olympic 1,500-meter gold medallist who heads the organizing committee for the London Games, reiterated his support for lifetime bans.
"I've never felt you should benchmark your morality by what other people are doing," he said. "I do instinctively feel it is right for organizations in sport to be able to make decisions that they feel are in the best interests of their sport. It is about autonomy and independence."