BOA urges change in course on sanctions

11 April 2012 / 21:24

The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) has "followed the wrong course" and should return to four-year sanctions for drug cheats, according to the British Olympic Association (BOA).

BOA chairman Lord Colin Moynihan believes that by driving National Olympic Committees (NOCs) towards a two-year global ban for athletes found guilty of doping, WADA has watered down its message and is endangering its reputation and effectiveness.

The BOA's Athletes Commission is now calling for a return to four-year sanctions, as well as an Olympic Games and/or major events ban.

The BOA has submitted a series of recommendations for consideration by WADA in its anti-doping code review, and Moynihan believes there also needs to be fundamental analysis of the organisation and the role of governments, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and sports governing bodies in the fight against doping.

"There is no issue of greater importance in protecting the health and well-being of athletes, and the integrity of sport, than the fight against doping," Moynihan said. "It is right that WADA is leading a worldwide consultation process, but far more must be done. By urging NOCs to work toward a global two-year ban in recent years, WADA has followed the wrong course.

"As Sir Steve Redgrave, one of our greatest Olympians, has said, 'A two-year ban for doping is almost saying it is acceptable'."

In the recommendations, the BOA wants tribunals to be able to apply four-year bans as the starting point, with reductions possibly applied after taking into account principles such as no fault and/or negligence.

The BOA has also called for outdated processes to be updated as a matter of urgency and demanded a fresh approach from the Swiss-based anti-doping agency.

"The BOA recognises that those working within WADA are totally committed to the fight against doping," read the BOA's submission to the World Anti-Doping Code review.

"However, as part of the code review process we believe the time is right to consider whether a totally harmonised approach which seeks to be all things to all people and has as its basis a two-year ban for serious doping offences - which is little more than a global lowest common denominator - places in danger WADA's reputation and lays itself open to the question of how effective a global quango can be in tackling the ever growing challenge of doping in sport."