British lifetime doping ban looks headed back to CAS

London: The British Olympic Association`s (BOA) controversial lifetime ban for drug cheats looks set to return to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and a showdown with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who have declared the 2012 Olympic host non-compliant.

Despite the threat of sanctions, the BOA has refused to give into mounting pressure and lift its ban, raising the prospect of a legal battle with WADA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"They (BOA) could change their rule today and wouldn`t need to go any further but they have the right to appeal the non-compliant decision and it would go to CAS," WADA director general David Howman said on a conference call on Monday.

"It`s not a very big question and it has already been resolved and discussed by previous CAS panels so I think it`s pretty simple."

CAS last month ruled that an IOC rule similar to the BOA`s, that restricted athletes banned for six months or more from competing in the next Olympics, amounted to a second sanction and violated the Anti-Doping Code.

The IOC accepted the CAS ruling and nullified its law but the BOA has said it will not change its rules, triggering a row with WADA.

The simmering dispute escalated when WADA presented its compliance report to its Foundation Board in Montreal on Sunday.

The report will now be passed onto the IOC, who will decide what action to take against National Olympic Committees (NOC) that are deemed non-compliant.

Although the Olympic Charter states that NOCs must be compliant to the World Anti-Doping Code to participate in an Olympic Games, Howman described the dispute with the BOA as a "technical issue".

"I would think people would say it is a bit disappointing that the BOA was determined to be non-compliant but this is a technical issue," said Howman.

"We have to be fair the result of the Court of Arbitration decision in October, which is only six weeks ago, while we`ve had the opportunity to consider it, I guess the BOA hasn`t considered it in the same way.

"Upon receiving the notification (non-compliance), the signatory (BOA) has the right to appeal to CAS. They have the opportunity to consider if they wish to do that, appeal the decision of non-compliance."

The BOA has vowed to defend their rule and chairman Colin Moynihan last week labelled WADA as out-of-touch, soft on drug cheats and wasting hundreds of millions of dollars.

WADA has vigorously defended its reputation and said its decision to find the BOA non-compliant was not a retaliation for Moynihan`s comments.

"The decision of the board had nothing to do with the speech Lord Moynihan delivered," said Howman. "The board considered the report, which included the Court of Arbitration decision to the IOC and USOC cases and the implications therefore for the British Olympic Association.

"We didn`t enter the public stage until it was entered by the BOA. "If one our signatories chooses to act in that fashion then we haven`t got any option but to respond otherwise the public is going to be misled."

Bureau Report

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