BBC drops Linford Christie after drugs ban is confirmed

Three top British athletes, including the Olympic gold medal winner Linford Christie, were banned for two years yesterday after the sport's international ruling body upheld a ruling that they had tested positive for drugs.

Three top British athletes, including the Olympic gold medal winner Linford Christie, were banned for two years yesterday after the sport's international ruling body upheld a ruling that they had tested positive for drugs.

The decision to ban Christie, his fellow sprinter Doug Walker and the hurdler Gary Cadogan, placed the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) on a collision course with British athletics chiefs. It also stopped the 100m champion Christie from attending the Olympic Games in Sydney as a member of the commentating team of the BBC, which said it would be "inappropriate".

The 400m runner Mark Richardson has also tested positive for the same banned anabolic steroid, nandrolone, and will hear the IAAF's decision in the next week.

An investigation by UK Athletics, the British governing body, had cleared the men of doping. But in a statement the IAAF said yesterday: "The arbitration panel believes that UK Athletics ... reached an erroneous conclusion when clearing these athletes. As a result, the panel have confirmed that all three committed doping offences."

Christie said: "I have always made it clear that I have no confidence in the IAAF's arbitration process and this simply reaffirms this. I have never intentionally taken any banned substance."

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