Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


BOA given 16 days to toe the Wada line on bans

The IOC's ultimate sanction would be to bar the British team from the Games

The British Olympic Association has been given until 18 May to revoke its by-law that bars British drug cheats from competing in the Games or face the possibility of sanctions.

David Howman, director-general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, yesterday described the BOA's failed attempt to protect the controversial by-law as "wasting a lot of time and money" and said that it had until Wada's next board meeting in 16 days' time to scrap it.

If that deadline is not met it would mean the BOA remains "non-compliant" with the Wada code and would result in the body that selects, manages and leads the British team at the Games being reported to the International Olympic Committee.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled on Monday that the BOA's by-law was "non-compliant" with the Wada code, to which it is a signatory. The BOA is scheduled to hold a meeting of its national committee in two weeks, where it is expected "strong feelings" will be expressed. Colin Moynihan, the chairman of the BOA, said on Monday that the by-law would be changed "as soon as possible" after that meeting.

"I would hope that all stops would be pulled out," said Wada's Howman. "If we've not heard [by 18 May], their position with being non-compliant would be maintained and we would report to the IOC accordingly."

The IOC's ultimate sanction would be to bar the British team from the Games, but there is no chance of the matter reaching that extreme despite growing antipathy on both sides.

Howman yesterday added to the criticism of the BOA and its stance over the by-law, and of Moynihan, in particular. Moynihan infuriated Wada with some of his comments, notably claiming that the BOA was refusing to come into line for moral reasons. Wada offered the BOA the advice of a "prominent QC" last year which suggested it had little chance of success in the wake of CAS's ruling that the IOC had to scrap its Rule 45, which banned dopers from at least one Games.

"At the end of the day they wasted a lot of time, a lot of money and got the inevitable result," said Howman. "[Moynihan] has expressed views that have hardly had any touch with the real facts or the real situation relating to anti-doping."

Moynihan and the BOA insist they fought the issue on behalf of its athletes, who support the by-law and are overwhelmingly keen on stronger sanctions. The two-year ban for a first offender was described by the BOA as a "slap on the wrist".

"We've got to maintain a gentle touch with reality and reality is that whatever rules are put in place must be able to sustain a challenge in international law through the appropriate courts, including human rights courts," said Howman. "For a first offence life bans are totally impossible. They are in the code for second or third offences. There is not one human rights lawyer or sport lawyer in the world who would even suggest that."

Olympic news you may have missed...

The Italian women's road cycling team arrived for training at Box Hill in Surrey yesterday, only to be turned away by workmen resurfacing the road. The work was supposed to be finished by the weekend, but was delayed by bad weather. "There are other hills," one workman told the Italian coach.

What's coming up...

Tomorrow-Sunday European tae kwon do championships, Manchester. The last opportunity for leading teams across the continent to fine-tune preparations and a final chance for GB participants to secure their place at 2012.

Who's up?

British rower Greg Searle has been picked for the World Cup event in Serbia this weekend. The 40-year-old won gold at the 1992 Games in the coxed pairs.

Who's down?

Team GB Hockey captain Barry Middleton has been left out of this week's test events as coach Jason Lee plans to assess his squad.