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The "Osaka Rule", which bans athletes convicted of serious doping offences from competing in the next Olympic Games, is set to be resurrected under new plans drawn up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The controversial penalty - also known as "Rule 45" - had been introduced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2007 but was challenged last year by the United States Olympic Committee on behalf of Beijing 2008 400 metres champion LaShawn Merritt, who had been banned in October 2010 for 21 months after testing positive for a banned a substance contained in an over-the-counter penis enlargement product.

They successfully argued at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that it was unfair because it was a second punishment for the same offence.

That, in turn, led to WADA challenging the British Olympic Association's (BOA) bylaw which bans any athlete convicted of a serious doping offence representing Team GB at the Olympics, leaving the way clear for convicted drugs cheats like sprinter Dwain Chambers and David Millar to compete at London 2012.

But the CAS indicated that Rule 45 could be reintroduced if it was included as part of the WADA code.

A new clause in the draft code, 10.15, titled "Limitation on Participation in the Olympic Games'' says in serious doping cases "as an additional sanction, the athlete or other person shall be ineligible to participate in the next Summer Olympic Games and the next Winter Olympic Games taking place after the end of the period of ineligibility otherwise imposed."

WADA's notes, however, warn that they do not want organisations like the BOA trying to introduce further sanctions against their athletes.

"The Code's objective of harmonisation would be seriously undermined if multiple Anti-Doping Organisations were each allowed to impose their own anti-doping participation rules," they say.

"The balance has been struck to provide for a special sanction limiting participation in the Olympic Games. This article is consistent with the CAS decisions in USOC v. IOC (the Merritt case) and British Olympic Association (BOA) v. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).''

The new code is due to be approved in autumn 2013 at a meeting in Johannesburg and implemented in 2015.

-Duncan Mackay

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

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January 28 - London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe and Hugh Robertson (pictured left), the Sport and Olympics Minister, have both written to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to express their support for the British Olympic Association's lifetime bans for drug cheats.

CAS are due to hear the BOA's appeal against the World Anti-Doping Authority's (WADA) decision to declare the British ban "non-compliant" with its anti-doping code in London on March 12.

If the appeal is rejected the sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar will be able to eligible in this summer's Games.

Both are subject to life-time Olympic bans, under a BOA by-law that bars any athlete who has served a doping ban from selection for any British Olympic team.

Coe is a long-time campaigner against drugs in sport.

"I have written a supportive letter from a personal perspective of somebody who has a long and fairly robust history, and an unreconstructed history some might say, on this," Coe said.

"It is a personal view."

Coe's backing will be a big boost to the campaign being led by Colin Moynihan, the chairman of the BOA, who are now the only National Olympic Committee (NOC) to have a lifetime ban in place for drugs cheat.

Robertson, meanwhile, has written a letter backing the BOA's right to select its own team without outside interference.

"It remains this Government's policy to support a lifetime ban for drugs cheats," he said.

By Duncan Mackay

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

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April 30 - British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Colin Moynihan has claimed that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has secured a "hollow victory" after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned his organisation's lifetime Olympic ban on drug cheats.

The CAS formally announced this afternoon that the BOA bylaw, which stops athletes convicted of serious drugs offences representing Great Britain at the Olympics, is against WADA rules and must be scrapped.

It means that convicted drugs cheats like sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar are eligible to be selected to represent Team GB at London 2012.

But in a press conference here at the BOA headquarters in central London, Moynihan attacked WADA for having a "flawed" stance towards drug cheats and said that while his organisation respects the decision of CAS, it rermains saddened with the ruling.

"The BOA is clearly very disappointed in the outcome," Moynihan declared.

"No doubt for athletes, coaches, administrators and others in international sport who want to see greater progress made in the fight against doping, this will be seen as a hollow victory for WADA.

"We live in difficult days when WADA spends time and money reducing those countries, such as Canada, New Zealand and ourselves, which have taken a determined stance against drug cheats in sport, to [impose] a two year ban which, as Sir Steve Redgrave said, is tantamount to almost saying it is acceptable.

"It is also wrong in our view that all 204 National Olympic Committees around the world now have to hand over their selection policy towards drug cheats and to WADA or face court action."

Moynihan also promised that the BOA will now spearhead a campaign against WADA, pushing relentlessly for tougher sanctions on drug cheats.

"Today, we must now move the discussion forward, and we will engage and lead in a global campaign to seek fundamental and far-reaching reform to WADA," said Moynihan.

"We have already submitted a set of recommendations to WADA as part of the ongoing World Anti-Doping Code Review process.

"We will be actively involved in that process, we will be vocal in that process, principally calling for tougher, more realistic sanctions for serious first-time doping offenders: a minimum of four years, including one Games.

"We will be seeking testing measures that are more proactive, more reliable, and treat athletes with greater fairness and consistency – for example, biological passports.

"We will be calling for the autonomy of National Olympic Committees to be respected, particularly in determining their selection policies for the Olympic team.

"We will be looking to an approach that doesn't bind all NOCs to what is effectively the lowest common denominator of sanctions.

"If some NOCs wish to take a position that is tougher than that global benchmark they should be permitted to do so, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should be free to reintroduce its Rule 45 'Osaka Rule' [banning convicted drugs cheats from future Games] if it so wishes.

"We will be calling on WADA to operate in a manner that is decidedly more efficient and effective, and more in touch with the athletes from all 204 National Olympic Committees."

Moynihan also revealed that the entire cost of CAS process was under £100,000 ($162,000/€123,000).

"WADA argued very strongly before CAS that, in the event that the British Olympic Association lost, we should pay not just our own costs but WADA's costs as well," he said.

"I'm very pleased to read in the findings that we have won our argument on that point – and our argument was that each party should bear its own costs relative to the findings.

"In terms of the CAS process itself, we will be covering those costs and we are very comfortable with the CAS decision on that particular point.

"The net result of all of that is that we anticipate the full cost to the British Olympic Association to be less than the budgeted figure of £100,000.

"It is good news for the athletes because it means we can spend additional money on them; that £100,000 covers the cost of the arbitration and our lawyer's fees.

"So we were within budget on the cost of this."

Despite the attack levelled at WADA, Moynihan promised that athletes such as Chambers and Millar will not be made outcasts if selected for Team GB.

"If ultimately they are nominated, by their National Governing Bodies, so long as they meet the eligibility criteria they will be selected to Team GB.

"If they become members of Team GB they will be treated just as every other athlete in the delegation.

"There will be no two-tier team."

UK Athletics, which will be responsible for selecting Chambers, has echoed Moynihan's stance.

"UK Athletics has always supported the BOA bylaw but welcomes the clarity the CAS decision brings to this issue," it said in a statement.

"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 Cycling (BC), charged with nominating Millar to Team GB, followed suit.

"Our team for the Games is being selected in June and across all disciplines we'll pick the team based on which riders are fit and available, and who we believe have the best chance to deliver medals," said a BC spokesperson.

"Ahead of that we won't be speculating on who may or may not be selected."

By Tom Degun at the BOA Headquarters in London

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December 2 - Science alone is no longer enough to catch all drug cheats, a leading figure in the fight against doping in sport has admitted.

In a sobering resume of the balance of forces in this high-profile battle in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, David Howman (pictured), director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) told the Partnership for Clean Competition Conference in New York: "We all should know by now that the fight against doping in sport has reached the stage where science alone will not eradicate cheating or often even detect it.

"Sample collection and analysis is getting more expensive.

"The rules appear to some to be getting more complicated.

"Laboratory directors and scientists in general continue to be conservative.

"Indeed, it may be suggested that some err in favour of not returning adverse results for fear of the legal process and the time required to give evidence under attack."

Scientists, he argued, in general did not enjoy "the adversarial approach of lawyers".

Meanwhile, the "clever cheating athlete" was becoming "better at cheating, more sophisticated and funded extensively".

That athlete, he said, "might now be confidently of the view that he or she will avoid detection under the historical approach".

He went on: "From micro dosing to manipulation, the clever doper, aided, abetted and considerably financed by clever entourage members, continues to evade detection through the analytical process.

"And we continue to be haunted by the impunity with which, for example, many treat human growth hormone."

Howman asserted that cost was being used as "an excuse" by those responsible for anti-doping programmes not to undertake the best possible approach.

"For example, not all samples are analysed for erythropoietin (EPO).

"With only 36 positive cases for EPO being found in 2010, from 258,000 samples surely indicates that."

The sport industry, he said, was now estimated to be a $800 billion (£510 billion/€594 billion) a year business.

"Spending $300 million (£191 million/€223 million) to protect the integrity of such a business does not seem to be an awful amount of money."

What, he asked rhetorically, was the real prevalence of doping?

"Analytical findings suggest about 1-2 per cent, but recent studies suggest double digits," he said.

To deal with the current situation, Howman argued, investigations needed to form "an integral part" of any effective anti-doping programme.

He disclosed that a new document had now been sent to all anti-doping organisations worldwide including "good, practical, sensible suggestions" on how to go about working with law enforcement, customs, immigration and other officials "in order to properly and appropriately share information".

He also urged his audience to "realise that, in most cases, it is not athletes acting alone who defeat everything for which they should stand.

"They are assisted, counselled, sometimes tricked and occasionally forced into the downward spiral of cheating."

He acknowledged that "we still do not really have an appropriate and consistent way of ensuring that the athlete entourage, when responsible for aiding and abetting, persuading and supplying, can be sanctioned.

"We must continue to search for ways and means of globally achieving this."

By David Owen

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

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April 23 - The London 2012 anti-doping laboratory, where up to 6,250 samples will be tested during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has been granted accreditation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) following a series of rigorous tests to establish its analysis credentials.

The WADA accreditation process, which spanned a two-year period, is the final seal of approval for the laboratory, which is provided by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and operated by King's College London.

"Achieving WADA accreditation means that the London 2012 anti-doping laboratory will operate to the highest standards of sample analysis during the Olympic and Paralympic Games," said WADA President John Fahey.

"Doping athletes must know that there is a very good chance they will be tested this summer and that everything scientifically possible – and with the assistance of growing intelligence – will be done to make sure that their efforts to cheat are detected by the experts at the laboratory."

Up to 400 samples will be analysed each day during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is more than at any other Games.

Around 50 per cent athletes will be tested at the Olympic Games, including every medallist, while the shortest test turnaround time will be 24 hours.

The laboratory, which measures the size of seven tennis courts, will be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"The WADA accreditation is a green light signal that the lab is ready," said London 2012 head of anti-doping Jonathan Harris.

"The successful partnership between London 2012, GSK and King's has enabled us to present to WADA a brilliant laboratory for King's to operate at Games time."

The accreditation process was based on two international standards – ISO/IEC 17025, and the International Standard for Laboratories.

It involved several site visits from WADA's Science Department and the ISO/IEC accrediting body with assessments focussed on the facility, equipment, procedures and staffing during three formal inspections and dummy sample testing.

More than 1,000 London 2012 staff will work within the anti-doping process and a team of more than 150 anti-doping scientists will carry out the testing at the laboratory, led independently by Professor David Cowan (pictured right with Britain's Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson) who is head of King's College London's Drug Control Centre

"I am thrilled to receive official accreditation from WADA at such an early stage," said Cowan.

"We have demonstrated that everything is in place and we are well prepared to deliver robust testing for the Games.

"This accreditation provides recognition of our ability to operate an effective anti-doping laboratory."

The anti-doping programmes driven by London 2012 during the Games will also create a legacy of knowledge about anti-doping operations and processes.

-Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

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October 6 - The British Olympic Association's (BOA) chairman Colin Moynihan today put up a strong defence of his organisation's bylaw preventing athletes found guilty of a doping violation from taking part in any British Olympic team, pledging to do "everything in my power" to keep it in place.

Moynihan moved quickly to clarify the BOA's position in light of this morning's decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to rule that the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) rule 45, which banned any athlete serving a suspension of six months or more for doping violations from the subsequent Olympic Games, was "invalid and unenforceable".

The decision in Lausanne raised the prospect of the likes of Dwain Chambers, the British sprinter banned from participating in London 2012 for his use of a cocktail of banned drugs in 2003, taking an appeal to CAS to win the right to represent Britain.

"[The bylaw] is tough but fair," Moynihan told the press conference here at the BOA headquarters here this afternoon.

"The bylaw has stood the test of time for 20 years."

Moynihan contended that whereas the IOC rule 45 stipulated a further sanction on an athlete testing positive for an illegal substance, the BOA rule addresses their eligibility instead.

The IOC had argued a similar point when taking the case to CAS.

The BOA believe they are on strong ground regardless, as Moynihan insisted that they have a written endorsement from 2009 confirming that the bylaw conforms with the World Anti-Doping Code, something he says the IOC did not have.

Moynihan said that they would be writing to the IOC for reassurance of their autonomy to select the team they see fit for Olympic Games.

His stance was supported by Sarah Winckless (pictured), the Athens 2004 bronze medal winning rower, who is the BOA's Athletes' Commission chair.

"This law came in in 1992 and the overwhelming support for it is 90 per cent among athletes every time we ask," she said.

"We want a clean team and a clean sport.

"I've always been proud to line up with athletes I know are clean."

Even Britain's Sport and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson has stepped in to defend the BOA's stance on the matter.

"I have always supported the BOA ban, crucially 95 per cent of our athletes support the BOA ban and believe it is different from the IOC bylaw because inside that ban is a right of appeal which is not there with the IOC," he said today at the Leaders in Football conference in London.

"I spend a lot of time these days with our Olympics teams and if you ask any of them what their view is, they will absolutely, every man and woman, back that ban.

"Olympic athletes do not want people convicted of doping offences back in their sport.

"It is very clear and I absolutely support the BOA case."

Moynihan further defended the BOA position amid increasing pressure, notably from Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who earlier this week called on them to scrap the bylaw.

"I don't believe our position is isolated," Moynihan said.

"One of the findings this morning was for the IOC to consider taking this forward and maybe embed rule 45 into the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Code.

"You need to focus on the rights of athletes denied the right to compete.

"In sport there is nothing more important than to be clean, I think it's essential that we send a message.

"A tough sanction needs to be applied in the rarest of circumstances, i.e. where someone intentionally denies someone who maybe spent 20 to 25 years working for a place at an Olympic Games of their place."

"That is unacceptable and for which there is no place on the Olympic team.

"I will do everything in my power to make sure [the] eligibility bylaw stays in place with the support of athletes."

-David Gold

www.insidethegames.biz

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