Athletics: IAAF backs British team: Modahl's points to stand

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S decision to allow their women to compete in this weekend's World Cup received belated official backing from the sport's international governing body yesterday.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation had hinted that Britain had a moral duty to withdraw from the Crystal Palace meeting if Diane Modahl - whose performance was crucial to Britain's qualification - became liable for a retrospective four- year ban following last week's second test on a sample she provided on 18 June.

The British position is that no withdrawal could be made while Modahl awaits a further hearing. Istvan Gyulai, the IAAF general secretary, conceded that the British decision was 'legally not incorrect'.

'I have chosen my words carefully after studying the legal situation,' Gyulai said. 'Regrettably for Britain, the end result may still be the same, that is they will have their results annulled. But they are not incorrect to compete.

'At the present time, and until she is banned following a hearing, her suspension dates from 30 August, the date of the second test. If she is subsequently found guilty, the date of any ban starts from the date of the first test - 18 June. Anything she did after that date will be annulled, but at the moment, her results from after 18 June stand.'

That means that the maximum points she earned for Britain by winning the European Cup 800m eight days later currently stand.

The International Olympic Committee's medical chief, Prince Alexandre de Merode, has called the nine and a half week delay in notifying the British Athletic Federation of Modahl's initial positive test as 'intolerable' and has pledged to tighten up procedures.

De Merode said the IOC would put pressure on accredited laboratories to speed up their processes and hesaid talks would be held with governments in an effort to get them to accept the IOC banned drugs list and not to enforce different standards.

The IOC has also adopted clear guidelines to athletes and federations in a long-awaited and far-reaching medical code. It lists all banned substances as well as acceptable medications and lays down standard penalties for offenders in a 78-page document which De Merode described as the 'cornerstone' of the doping battle.

This initiative has been mirrored in Britain, where the BAF is setting up a database of what medicines can safely be taken. The database can be accessed by athletes through High Street chemists.

Borzov joins IOC, page 41