WADA: British doping issue could wind up with IOC
The IOC could be forced to intervene with Britain's Olympic committee if its lifetime ban on drug cheats is found to violate global anti-doping rules.
The World Anti-Doping Agency will consider this weekend whether the British Olympic Association is ''noncompliant'' with the global code, a potential embarrassment for the nation that will host next year's London Olympics.
The meeting in Montreal comes at the end of a week in which WADA and the BOA exchanged sharp barbs in an unusual public spat between two major sports organizations.
At the heart of the dispute is a BOA bylaw, enacted in 1992, that bars British athletes for life from the Olympics if they are found guilty of doping. Britain is the only country that currently has such a rule.
The bylaw is now under heavy pressure after the Court of Arbitration for Sport nullified the International Olympic Committee rule that would have banned any athletes who received a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next games.
The court ruled that the IOC provision amounted to a second sanction and did not conform with the World Anti-Doping Code, which sets out rules and sanctions for all sports and countries.
WADA will submit a report to its foundation board Sunday on compliance with the code by sports federations, national committees and doping agencies. The BOA will be the only body under special scrutiny in what WADA director general David Howman called ''this little circus sideshow.''
''Aside from this, there is no current controversy,'' Howman told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday.
''It is the board's job to determine whether an organization is deemed noncompliant,'' he said. ''Then we pass that decision to those that are responsible for it.''
Howman said any noncompliant finding would be reported to the IOC, whose charter states specifically: ''The World Anti-Doping Code is mandatory for the whole Olympic movement.''
Exclusion from the Olympics would be the ultimate sanction for anyone failing to comply, though that would be unlikely at this stage.
''The IOC has a clause in their charter - that's a step they can take,'' Howman said. ''That's their law. Once they receive the report, they make those decisions.''
''There will be degrees of noncompliance that can be remedied in pretty short time,'' he added. ''And this is an ongoing thing.''
For its part, the IOC said it would look at each national Olympic committee on a case-by-case basis.
''Our aim (is) of course to help them become compliant with the WADA Anti-Doping Code,'' IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau told the AP.
The IOC has publicly supported the BOA's right to enforce a lifetime ban, calling it an ''eligibility rule.''
BOA chairman Colin Moynihan claimed Wednesday that WADA was pressuring him to drop the lifetime rule and that CAS would rule on its validity.
Moynihan also engaged in a public battle earlier this year with London's Olympic organizing committee and the IOC over its share of revenues from the 2012 Games.
''In the last few months the BOA has gone on the offensive against the IOC,'' Howman said. ''So one has to sit back and say maybe that's the style of operation that it is entrusting in its president.''
Howman also said that any move to take the issue to CAS has ''nothing to do with us.''
If the BOA rule is overturned, two top British athletes caught for drug use would become eligible for the London Games - sprinter Dwain Chambers, who served a two-year ban in the BALCO scandal, and cyclist David Millar, who was suspended for two years after testing positive for EPO.
Earlier this week, Moynihan attacked WADA in a speech in Lausanne, Switzerland, accusing the body of failing to catch the world's worst drug cheats and of dragging the anti-doping fight into a ''dark age.'' He called for an independent review of WADA's activities.
Moynihan's speech followed a request by WADA for the BOA to examine the lifetime ban in the wake of the court ruling against the IOC.
''It was a very emotional tirade of criticism without substance,'' Howman said Friday. ''We were disappointed because it came out of the blue. We had been trying to behave very professionally by entering into correspondence rather than some sort of debate in the public eye.''
WADA's website on Friday published Howman's point-by point rebuttal of Moynihan's accusations.
Howman repeatedly said that Moynihan ''conveniently neglects'' that the BOA was a signatory to the WADA code and had been a part of the decision-making process throughout.