WADA boss slams Britain over Olympic doping bans

Associated Press + More

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey criticized the British Olympic Association on Wednesday, saying it has been "grandstanding" since it lost its bid to keep lifetime Olympics bans for doping offenders.

Fahey rejected the BOA's claims that WADA's code needs reform following the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn the lifetime sanction.

While he expects to see WADA's current review result in an increase from the basic two-year ban for a first offense, Fahey said the BOA's proposed four-year ban to cover the following Olympics was unlikely to stand up in court.

"They can be challenged in human rights courts and if they're seen to be disproportionate, then they're likely to be thrown out," the former Australian politician said. "And the view was that if you go to four years, you'll have the courts throw it all out and it'll be a waste of time."

CAS ruled on Monday that the BOA bylaw was invalid and contravened WADA's global code. CAS said the lifetime ban represented an extra sanction for the same offense.

The ruling cleared the way for British sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar, who both served two-year doping bans, to be eligible for the London Olympics.

BOA chairman Colin Moynihan, who has feuded with WADA for months, call the CAS ruling a "hollow victory" for the doping body.

Fahey said he hasn't heard from any other organization supporting Moynihan's claim that WADA is making it difficult for sports bodies to be tough on drug cheats.

"If there's a belief from the world's athletes, officials and governments that penalties aren't tough enough, let's hear them," he said.

WADA's athletes' committee is yet to express any opposition to the CAS ruling against the BOA bans, and Fahey said he hasn't seen any submissions to the WADA review that are critical of its sanctions. A revised WADA code will be submitted for ratification in September 2013.

Fahey said the current code was agreed to in 2007 by athletes, sporting bodies and governments, including the BOA which offered no objection at the time.

"I hope all this grandstanding that's been going on about how we're not tough enough leads to the BOA at least putting some constructive comments together in this review," he said. "They had the same chance to do that before the 2007 review, they made no submissions.

"It's all very fine to say we're not tough enough, how come they didn't say that a few years ago?"

Fahey said the BOA wasted "a hell of a lot" of WADA's time and money by pursuing the matter in CAS.

Fahey said a four-year ban to cover an Olympics would be inconsistent with hundreds of other non-Olympic sports that are part of the WADA code.

"You've got to remember that's applicable to 27 summer Olympic sports, what about the hundreds of other sports that are signed up to the code?" he said. "We can't have one rule for Olympic sports and another for all the other sports."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.