Fahey defends WADA against attack by BOA chairman

BY foxsports • November 16, 2011

World Antio-Doping Agency President John Fahey defended the organization Wednesday following a ''misinformed and inaccurate'' attack by the head of Britain's Olympic committee.

Fahey said he was disappointed to read the strongly worded comments made by British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan in a speech to international sports federations on Tuesday.

Moynihan accused WADA of failing to catch the world's biggest drug cheats and dragging the doping fight into a ''dark age.'' He called for an independent review of the Montreal-based body, which was set up 10 years ago to coordinate the international fight against doping in sports.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Fahey noted that WADA's mandate comes from its signatories, including national Olympic bodies like the BOA.

''Accepting that any signatory must be free to criticize, it is disappointing to read the BOA president's comments, some of which are misinformed and inaccurate, and many of which have been addressed by WADA stakeholders in the last code review or by WADA in its present activities,'' Fahey said.

In his speech in Lausanne, Switzerland, Moynihan said only 59 of the world's 204 national Olympic committees are in compliance with WADA's anti-doping code, and that law-enforcement agencies - not WADA - were responsible for breaking up major doping rings and prosecuting cases such as the BALCO scandal.

Moynihan's comments came on the eve of a BOA meeting in London expected to discuss the body's rule banning British doping violators for life from the Olympics.

The BOA has come under pressure to scrap the bylaw after the Court of Arbitration for Sport threw out an IOC rule which bans athletes who have received a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next Olympics.

CAS ruled last month that the provision is an extra sanction and is not in compliance with the WADA code.

Fahey said WADA ''immediately and diligently'' requested that the BOA examine the validity of its lifetime rule in the wake of the CAS decision, suggesting that the British bylaw could also be considered an additional penalty and not in conformity with the global code.

''So far, WADA has not received any correspondence in reply,'' Fahey said.

He added that WADA obtained a legal opinion on the BOA rule from a prominent British lawyer and made it available to the London body.

WADA's foundation board will address the issue at a meeting in Montreal on Sunday.

Moynihan's comments were some of the harshest public attacks ever launched by a senior Olympic official against WADA, which was created to unify anti-doping rules, sanctions and policies across all sports and countries.

''It is understandable that many in sport have concluded that (WADA) has underachieved in the 10 years it has been operational,'' Moynihan said. ''Not least because ... the system put in place by WADA has failed to catch the major drug cheats of our time.

''Marion Jones and countless others have flourished during the WADA era - isn't that enough to prompt an independent audit of the organization tasked with policing sport?''

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