Dwain Chambers will today be cleared to run in the London Olympics. The Court of Arbitration for Sport yesterday informed the British Olympic Association of its judgement on the BOA's controversial byelaw that bars all athletes who have failed a dope test from competing in the Games.
CAS will release its judgement at 3pm this afternoon and the Swiss-based court is understood to have ruled against the BOA. The BOA will make no formal comment until later today.
It frees Chambers, who remains Britain's best 100m runner, and the cyclist David Millar for selection for this summer's Olympics. Millar is likely to be chosen as part of Britain's road-race team that will seek to usher Mark Cavendish to the hosts' first gold on day one of the Games.
The three-strong CAS panel have decided that the BOA's lifetime Olympic ban is non-compliant with the World Anti-doping Association's code. The BOA will have no option but to allow Chambers and Millar to be considered for selection by UK Athletics and British Cycling. Chambers should have little difficulty in claiming a place in both the 100m and the relay for the London Games in July and Dave Brailsford, the performance director of British Cycling, has already indicated that Millar is almost certain to be chosen.
Chambers was first banned in 2003 after testing positive for THG, an anabolic steroid. He served a two-year ban but the BOA byelaw also meant he was barred for life from competing in the Olympics. He tried to have it overturned in the High Court ahead of the Beijing Olympics but failed. Millar also served a two-year ban after testing positive for EPO, a blood booster. Since his ban, Millar has become a vocal anti-drugs campaigner.
The CAS ruling follows its decision last year to find in favour of the American runner LaShawn Merritt, who with the support of the US Olympic Committee, challenged the International Olympic Committee's so-called "Osaka rule", rule 45, that barred any athlete who tested positive from at least one Games.
That case led directly to the BOA one. The CAS judgement will revolve around the fact that a life ban was an additional sanction to the initial two-year ban for failing a dope test. Under the Wada code, an athlete is banned only for one set term, which, CAS will rule, means the BOA byelaw does not comply with the Wada code, to which Britain is a signatory.
The BOA's argument revolved around it being an eligibility issue rather than a sanction – the BOA should be able to consider whoever it wanted for the British Olympic team. The BOA said it would not comment yesterday "out of respect for CAS and the arbitration panel", although it has previously stated that it would have "no problem" in selecting either Chambers or Millar should it lose the case.
The byelaw was widely supported by British athletes. The last poll had backing for the byelaw close to 80 per cent. Next year the Wada code will be reviewed, and the BOA will campaign strongly for a longer ban for drug cheats.
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