Moynihan: BOA bylaw is selection policy

Colin Moynihan

Colin Moynihan

First published in National Sport News © by

The British Olympic Association's final attempt to keep their lifetime ban for drugs cheats took place on Monday with the organisation's chairman likening the policy to refusing to select match-fixers or overt racists.

BOA chairman Colin Moynihan said he was "cautiously optimistic" after the Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing in London to decide whether the lifetime ban bylaw breaches the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. If it is overturned that will enable cyclist David Millar and sprinter Dwain Chambers, and possibly others, to compete for Team GB at the London 2012 Games.

The BOA's argument, put forward by leading QC Lord David Pannick is that the bylaw is a selection policy and not an extra sanction, and Moynihan said afterwards: "The most comparable would be match-fixing - if someone was proven to have been involved in match-fixing I am sure the BOA would take a very tough line and would not select them for Team GB."

He added: "Any overt racist behaviour that damaged the morale and the performance of team-mates would be unacceptable to the BOA, that would be another example.

"This is a selection policy for Team GB at the Olympic Games against the background of Olympic values, wholly different to whether you have a two-year sanction or a four-year sanction for somebody with a serious doping offence."

The CAS panel, made up of the same three eminent lawyers who last year overturned the International Olympic Committee's rule on drug cheats missing the next Games, are expected to make a decision in around a month.

The fact the panel have already ruled against the IOC, and have expressed legal opinions that sporting federations should be responsible for drugs bans rather than national Olympic committees, has not deterred the BOA.

Moynihan was indeed convinced that the BOA were given "a very fair hearing" and that there is a "major difference" between the bylaw and the IOC's rule, which had no appeal process. The BOA have had 31 appeals against their bylaws of which 28 have been successful.

He added: "Today was an outstandingly good presentation, Lord Pannick was first-rate and the voice of the athletes came over strong and loud so I'm cautiously optimistic.

"One of the questions we put is to try and get a resolution as soon as possible. My expectation is a month, we don't want it any longer as it is in the interests of the athletes that they know what the outcome will be."

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