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WADA's Howman criticizes BOA over Chambers case

WADA's Howman criticizes BOA over Chambers case

World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman says the British Olympic Association has "been held up to ridicule" by its failed bid to enforce a selection policy which prevented athletes who have served doping sanctions from competing at the 2012 London Games.
In a New Zealand radio interview Tuesday, Howman said the BOA had also wasted "hundreds of thousands of pounds" on a fruitless attempt to enforce the rule which would have barred the likes of disgraced sprinter Dwain Chambers from the British Olympic team.
Howman said WADA had warned the BOA, before it took its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, that the rule contravened the WADA code and conventions which prevent an offender being punished twice for one offense.
In 2003 Chambers tested positive to the banned designer steroid THG and in February, 2004, he was banned from competition for two years. He was later allowed to return to competition but was barred for life from the Olympics under the BOA's rule.
The British selection rule mirrored the International Olympic Committee's Osaka Rule, introduced in 2008, which barred athletes who had served drug-related suspensions of more than six months from competing at the Olympics.
But the IOC rule was thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in October, 2011. The CAS ruled the sanction was "invalid and unenforceable" and was "more properly characterized as a disciplinary sanction rather than a pure condition of eligibility (to) the Olympic Games."
In Chambers' case, the CAS ruled the BOA's Olympic ban was contrary to the WADA code because it represented an additional sanction on top of that already imposed.
"It's like sentencing someone to a term of imprisonment, say six months, and when they get out saying 'sorry, in 12 months you'll have to go back for another month because we just don't think that was good enough'," Howman said.
Howman said WADA had warned the BOA of the outcome of any arbitration but the British body had persisted with its case.
Chambers has indicated he will now press his strong case for inclusion in the British Olympic team. British athletics officials and London Olympics organizing committee chief Lord Sebastian Coe have criticized the CAS decision as an intrusion on Britain's selection autonomy.
Howman said the CAS decision should have been easily foreseen, particularly in light of its previous decision on the Osaka Rule.
"The court's decision says quite clearly that under British law it's an extra sanction and an extra sanction is not compatible with the code," he said. "Therefore the British Olympic (Association) failed totally in their appeal ... wasted, I have to say, hundreds of thousands of pounds which could have been spent in a far more fruitful fashion.
"I think Lord Coe and, with respect, all the others in Britain who came out so forcefully in support of the rule should have actually thought a second time before they opened their mouths the first time. If they had done that they wouldn't have been held up to ridicule like they are being by some of the world media."
Howman said the BOA should have looked at Law 101 and decided that this was not going to sustain the challenge to the CAS.
"And if they had done that there were other ways of making sure you can lend your name and thoughts to the fight against doping," he said.
Howman said WADA had opposed the British rule because it was necessary in the fight against doping to ensure consistency across all jurisdictions. He said it could not be argued that WADA was weak on doping.
"None of them (doping offenders) get off," he said. "I think we have to be realistic here.
"They can be banned for two years and if the situation is an aggravated one they can get four years even under the current code and for a second offense they can get up to life. So I don't think it's that weak. I think it's something that has been carefully looked at by people."


Updated : 2020-12-05 19:20 GMT+08:00