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

if needed.”

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

rule.

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.