David Millar will be eligible to compete for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the British Olympic Association bylaw barring athletes who had previously tested positive from competing at the Games is in contravention of the WADA code.
“The Bye-Law is a doping sanction and is therefore not in compliance with the WADA Code. The CAS confirms the view of the WADA Foundation Board as indicated in its Decision. Therefore, the appeal of BOA is rejected and the Decision of the WADA Foundation Board is confirmed.”
The CAS Panel which ruled on the BOA case was the same one which in October of last year had found against the International Olympic Committee’s “Rule 45”, a bylaw which barred athletes who had served doping suspensions for at least one Olympic Games on top of their original ban.
In each case, the CAS panel upheld the existing WADA code, which was signed in 2004: “The awards in both cases simply reflect the fact that the international anti-doping movement has recognized the crucial importance of a worldwide harmonized and consistent fight against doping in sport, and all signatories have agreed […] to comply with such a principle, without any substantial deviation in direction.”
It is understood that the BOA will now look for a revised WADA code that will allow for bans exceeding two years. The Guardian reports that while WADA is likely to agree to such an alteration, it will prevent different national governing bodies from having different sanctions.
“At the moment, the system in place does not permit what the BOA has done,” read the CAS statement.
The man who seems likely to gain most from the CAS ruling is David Millar, will is now eligible to line up for Great Britain in London this summer. The Garmin-Barracuda rider played an important role in Mark Cavendish’s world championship win in Copenhagen last September, and had also trained with the Manxman in the build-up to the event.
In a statement released immediately after the CAS announcement, British Cycling moved to stifle speculation as to whether Millar will indeed be in the five-man team for the London road race. "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. Ahead of that we won't be speculating on who may or may not be selected," said a British Cycling spokesperson.
It remains to be seen if the CAS decision will have repercussions for the Italian Cycling Federation directive which bars riders who have served doping suspensions of six months or more from representing the national team.