Lord Coe backs GB Olympic ban for drug cheats


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The Independent Online

The British Olympic Association can count on the support of Lord Coe and the Government at their legal hearing to try to defend their lifetime Olympic ban on drugs cheats.

Both Lord Coe, the London 2012 chairman, and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson have written letters which may add weight to the BOA's hardline position.

A hearing into the BOA's bylaw which enforces a lifetime Olympic ban on drugs cheats will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in London on March 12.

The BOA has challenged the decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency that the lifetime ban is "non-compliant" with their code.

Lord Coe, a two-time 1500 metres Olympic champion, said: "I have written a supportive letter from a personal perspective of somebody who has a long and fairly robust history, and an unreconstructed history some might say, on this.

"It is a personal view. I clearly can not express the views of my colleagues on the organising committee (London 2012)."

Mr Robertson said: "I have also written to CAS, firstly to confirm that the British Government entirely respects the right of the British Olympic Association to select its own team.

"Secondly, that it remains this Government's policy to support a lifetime ban for drugs cheats."

If the BOA is defeated it means that cyclist David Millar and sprinter Dwain Chambers, who have previously served bans for drugs, will be able to be part of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.

In October, the CAS ruled that the International Olympic Committee's rule 45, banning athletes who have been suspended for more than six months for an anti-doping rule violation from the next Olympics, was "invalid and unenforceable".