Modahl to sue BAF over costs

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Diane Modahl is to sue the British Athletic Federation following their refusal to contribute towards her costs in challenging a four-year ban for doping abuse, writes Mike Rowbottom.

Modahl, who was found guilty by a Federation hearing last December but won her appeal last month, says she will now bring a claim for compensation.

She has spent an estimated pounds 150,000 since she tested positive for testosterone in June last year, with much of the costs going on fees for lawyers and experts drawn from Britain, Germany and the United States.

"The BAF's decision that it has no responsibility or duty to even contribute to my costs makes a mockery of the whole procedure," Modahl said in a statement yesterday. "Even in victory I have to pay the price of having the impertinence to challenge the authorities. The BAF considers it has done a good job. It now turns away from all the devastation it has left behind... I feel a deep sense of betrayal and abandonment.''

Tony Ward, the Federation's spokesman, said: "We shall defend any action that is taken against us. The matter is in the hands of our solicitors. But we are in the middle of a World Championships, and I am sure Diane Modahl as an athlete will appreciate that we can't devote too much time and attention to her case at the moment.''

Despite that, Modahl's solicitor, Tony Morton-Hooper, flew here yesterday with a view to discussing the situation.

There is no obvious precedent for Modahl's position of having been found firstly guilty and then innocent by panels put together by her national federation.

Katrin Krabbe is still in legal dispute with her Federation over her four-year doping ban. And although the US national federation exonerated Butch Reynolds from his ban, Reynolds did not receive financial assistance from them because it did not declare him guilty in the first place.

Modahl claims that BAF has a moral duty to compensate her. "They prosecuted me for a doping offence I did not commit with all the strength they could muster," she said in her statement, adding that she found the atmosphere at the December hearing "hostile, notwithstanding the platitudes from top officials.''