The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday ruled the British Olympic Association’s (BOA) lifetime ban on drugs cheats failed to comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.
CAS’s decision gives the green light to the likes of British sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar, previously guilty of doping offences, to take part in the upcoming London Games should they achieve the qualifying standard.
“The CAS Panel has ruled that the BOA bye-law related to the selection of British athletes for the Olympic Games was not in compliance with the World Anti-doping Code,” CAS said in a statement.
“Such decision confirms the jurisprudence established last year in the case between the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”
The CAS ruling had been widely expected since the IOC lost a similar case in November after their Osaka rule — banning drugs cheats from the next Olympics even if their suspension was completed — was challenged.
The case was brought by USOC on behalf of their 400m runner LaShawn Merritt.
Colin Moynihan, chairman of the BOA, reacted to the latest CAS verdict by saying WADA had won a “hollow victory”.
WADA had fought the BOA’s policy of imposing life bans for the Olympics, arguing that it contravened their own code.
Former European 100m champion Chambers, who won 60m bronze in this year’s world indoor event in Istanbul last month, was banned for two years after testing positive for the anabolic steroid THG in 2004.
Millar also served a doping ban in 2004.
Meanwhile a statement issued by UK Athletics, the governing body who would initially be responsible for selecting track and field athletes such as Chambers for the Games, said: “UK Athletics has always supported the BOA byelaw but welcomes the clarity the CAS decision brings to this issue.
“Athletes affected by the ruling are now eligible for the team, in both individual and relay events, and will be subject to the same selection criteria and process as every other British athlete.”
[British sprinter Dwain Chambers via AFP]