BOA calls on Wada to toughen up over drug cheats


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The Independent Online

The British Olympic Association has called for a mandatory four-year ban - which would include one Olympic Games - for first-time drug cheats to be introduced as part of a "fundamental review" of Wada, the global body charged with policing anti-doping in sport.

The BOA believes that Wada is too reactive and makes athletes "feel guilty before proving themselves innocent." But it also wants stronger punishment for those who are guilty. It wants Wada to allow National Olympic Committees the autonomy to attach further sanctions on athletes who dope and for the world body to re-introduce a punitive measure along the lines of the International Olympic Committee's Osaka rule, which led to an athlete automatically being barred from a Games after failing a test.

The BOA submission to Wada, which has favoured a two-year ban, comes just weeks before the BOA's controversial bylaw that bars athletes who have doped from competing for Britain in the Olympics is likely to fall foul of a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling. The CAS decision - which the BOA argue is an issue of eligibility - is due before the end of the month and is expected to free the likes of Dwain Chambers and David Millar to compete for Britain in the London Games.

The Osaka rule was overturned by the CAS last year after a challenge by the United States Olympic Committee in support of the 400m runner LaShawn Merritt. That in turn led to the current case between Wada and the BOA.

The BOA wants Wada to adopt more intelligent led testing, target the source of doping and the athletes' entourages. Unsurprisingly, Moyniham wants Wada, who are beginning a regular review of how they operate, to pay particular attention to wishes of the national Olympic committees in "establishing eligibility standards for selection" and accepting NOC's autonomy in that process.

"It is right Wada are leading a worldwide consultation process but far more must be done," said Colin Moynihan, president of the BOA. "By urging NOCs to work toward a global two-year ban in recent years, Wada has followed the wrong course. Proceeding as if yesterday's strategies will be sufficient in ensuring a level playing field for the athletes of today and tomorrow is a recipe for failure. Relying on outdated testing methodology and practices that are primarily reactive in nature is not, in our view, the way forward."