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Sanctioned dopers can participate in Olympics, CAS rules

A tired David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) couldn't repeat his Giro d'Italia triumph.

A tired David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) couldn't repeat his Giro d'Italia triumph. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Athletes who have served a suspension for doping will be allowed to participate in the Olympic games.  The Court of Arbitration for Sport today ruled that an International Olympic Committee regulation banning such athletes was “invalid and unenforceable.” 

The ruling could mean that David Millar would be eligible to qualify for the British Olympic team for the 2012 London Olympics, for example. Currently, a British Olympic Association bylaw prevents athletes who have been found guilty of a doping offence from competing in the Olympics.

In June 2008, the IOC's Executive Board adopted the so-called “Osaka Rule”,a regulation “prohibiting athletes who have been suspended for more than six months for an anti-doping rule violation from participating in the next Olympic Games following the expiration of their suspension.” This has now been overruled.

The CAS panel “came to the conclusion that the 'Osaka Rule' was more properly characterized as a disciplinary sanction, rather than a pure condition of eligibility to compete in the Olympic Games.” Such a sanction does not comply with the World Anti-Doping Code, the panel ruled, “because it adds further ineligibility to the WADC anti-doping sanction after that sanction has been served.” In addition, “the 'Osaka Rule' is in fact a violation of the IOC’s own Statute and is therefore invalid and unenforceable.”

If the IOC wants to exclude athletes who have been sanctioned for doping, it should propose an amendment to the World Anti-Doping Code, the CS noted.