WADA director says lifetime bans not enforceable
Sanctions for drug offenders must remain ”proportionate” and
lifetime Olympic bans do not appear legally enforceable, a World
Anti-Doping Agency executive said Tuesday.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport last week threw out an IOC
rule that bars any athlete who has received a doping suspension of
more than six months from competing in the next games.
That has put Britain’s policy of imposing lifetime Olympics bans
under scrutiny less than a year before the London Games.
”Everyone wants the fight against doping in sport to be as
tough, as rigorous, as robust as possible,” WADA’s European
director Frederic Donze told The Associated Press. ”But at the
same time, the fight against doping in sport needs to be
proportionate and needs to actually respect the rights of the
athletes and be able actually to be defended before a civil court
Before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the British Olympic
Association won a court ruling that prevented sprinter Dwain
Chambers from overturning its lifetime ban rule, which has been in
place since 1992. Chambers, a former European 100-meter champion,
served a two-year ban in the BALCO scandal.
The Montreal-based WADA has asked the BOA to review its policy
of imposing lifetime bans after CAS recently cleared the way for
LaShawn Merritt of the United States to defend his 400-meter title
in London. Merritt, who completed a 21-month doping suspension in
July, had previously been ineligible for the games under the IOC
The International Olympic Committee athletes’ forum this week
recommended ”athletes convicted of a deliberate and aggravated
doping offenses should receive a lifetime Olympic ban.”
”A number of people including athletes want lifetime bans for a
first anti-doping rule violation,” Donze said. ”We all would like
that in an ideal world, but when the (WADA) code was first drafted
and then further revised in 2009 we asked for legal advice.
”The answer from the legal experts was to say that if you
impose a lifetime ban for first-time anti-doping rule violation for
an athlete, that may be actually challenged before the courts – all
types of courts – and that might be a true challenge to the fight
against doping in sport and not be sustainable.”
Donze said WADA wants an anti-doping policy that is ”harmonized
across the sports and all countries.”
”(CAS) suggested that the bylaws of the IOC was not an
eligibility matter, but might be an additional sanction to those
already imposed by the world anti-doping code,” he said.
Donze spoke in London after helping launch an international
anti-doping campaign ahead of the 2012 London Games. The ”Win
Clean: Say No to Doping” poster was displayed next to the
countdown clock in Trafalgar Square.
Britain’s anti-doping chief Andy Parkinson said such campaigns
have often been too focused on a domestic level.
”For the countries out there that don’t have the education
programs in place, this can be their education campaign … because
we recognize that every country isn’t as well resourced as Britain,
Australia or the U.S.,” Parkinson said.