Princess Anne warns 'cheats'

The Princess Royal, the president of the British Olympic Association, yesterday warned Britain's biggest ever Olympic team that they should not think they could turn to lawyers for help if they were accused of cheating at the Sydney Games.

The Princess Royal, the president of the British Olympic Association, yesterday warned Britain's biggest ever Olympic team that they should not think they could turn to lawyers for help if they were accused of cheating at the Sydney Games.

Speaking at her home in Gatcombe Park before the first departures for Sydney, Princess Anne said: "There is always someone who is prepared to cheat, someone who thinks it will be worth taking the risk. It seems to me a great shame that people will no longer accept that if you take part in a sport then you abide by the rules of that sport. If you don't like it or don't like the concept of being drummed out of the sport then don't do the sport."

She welcomed the fact that the expected 320 competitors in the British team will have to sign a contract before going to Sydney, just athletes did before the Atlanta Games four years ago. This "athlete's contract" pledges the competitor to abide by the BOA's rules and to take any disputes that may arise to binding arbitration rather than seek a solution in the courts.

Britain's team of 600, including officials, coaches and training partners, will help to make Sydney the largest Olympics ever, with up to 200 more competitors expected than the 10,000 "limit" imposed by the International Olympic Committee. The Princess, who rode for Britain in the three-day event at the 1976 Montreal Games, suggested a solution to the continuing expansion of the Games would be to drop all team sports.

She said she saw no reason to resign as a member of the IOC following the bribery scandals surrounding Salt Lake City successful bid to host the 2002 Winter Games.

"If the athletes said that this is all corrupt and bent then there would be no reason to carry on," the Princess said. "If there were any reasons for me quitting, they had existed long before and for entirely different reasons. The one thing that shines through about the Olympics is that the athletes always want to go to the Games."

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