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Pound weighs in on Olympic exclusions

WADA chairman Dick Pound Photo: © AFP

WADA chairman Dick Pound Photo: © AFP

Former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound came out against the British Olympic Association's policy of banning convicted dopers from future Olympic Games after the athlete's completed sanctions, saying the BOA is "offside" in going against the WADA code and "has put itself in a position of being a rogue".

The 19-year-old policy would exclude riders like David Millar, who served a two-year ban in 2004 for admitting to EPO use, but who has since assisted the anti-doping authorities in identifying doping methods and educating riders about competing clean. Millar has stated he will not fight his Olympic ban.

Pound, an out-spoken critic of cycling's anti-doping policies during his term with the agency, emphasised the legal reasons for WADA's maximum two-year suspension for an athlete's first doping offence, well below what is in effect a lifetime ban from the Games by the BOA bylaw.

"This maximum was established partly on the advice of human rights lawyers to the effect that state courts would not interfere with such sanctions as excessive in the circumstances," Pound wrote on his blog on the Guardian's web site.

Pound argued that the BOA made the policy before WADA was formed, but has since supported WADA's creation and adopted the WADA code. Therefore its bylaw adding punishment to an athlete's term is beyond what the code allows. "This conflicts with the provisions of the code, to which the BOA is a signatory," Pound wrote.

"The BOA is, accordingly, offside and has been identified as such by WADA. This is not a matter of philosophical differences, simply a matter of the legal effects of its actions."

Pound faults the BOA for not noticing the discrepancy between its bylaws and the code and requesting the code be amended. He noted that a similar provision by the International Olympic Committee, the "Osaka Rule", was struck down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last month and said, "the IOC, unlike the BOA, has accepted the decision and will pursue the matter during the next code review."

The former WADA president was highly critical of the BOA especially in light of its role as host of the next Olympic Games. "Respect for rules which it participated in adopting should be a matter of pride and conviction, not of being dragged kicking and screaming into forced compliance," he concluded.

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