Road Cycling News

David Millar moves closer to Olympic return after WADA ruling

David Millar moved a step closer to competing at London 2012 after the British Olympic Association was told its life ban for drug cheats is “non-compliant” with the World Anti-Doping Authority’s rules.

David Millar (right) could compete at London 2012

The Wada board ruled that the ban violates its anti-doping code at a meeting on Sunday but the BOA responded by revealing it will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in an attempt to keep its rule in place.

BOA by-law 25 prevents athletes banned for more than six months for a doping offence from being eligible for selection to represent Great Britain at an Olympic Games.

“The BOA welcomes today’s outcome from WADA which will bring clarity and closure to the dispute with WADA,” read a BOA statement.

“We look forward to receiving the formal findings from WADA setting out how they have determined that the BOA’s selection policy is non-compliant with the WADA code.

“On behalf of the overwhelming majority of British athletes we will vigorously defend any challenge to the selection policy which bans drugs cheats from Team GB and we will publish the process we intend to follow in the near future.”

Millar was handed a two-year ban in 2004 for using EPO, while sprinter Dwain Chambers and shot-putter Carl Myerscough are also both banned from representing Team GB.

In October, Cas ruled against an International Olympic Committee rule which prevented any athlete who has received a doping ban of more than six months from competing in the next summer or winter Games, giving American 400m runner LaShawn Merritt the green light to compete at London 2012.

Cas said  IOC rule 45 was “invalid and unenforceable” as it amounted to a second sanction which took Merritt’s ban beyond two years, the maximum length sanctioned by the Wada.

That saw Wada write to the BOA asking it to reconsider its policy in order to comply with the global anti-doping code, but the organisation insists its by-law is an eligibility ruling, rather than an additional sanction.

Chambers unsuccessfully challenged the BOA’s by-law at the High Court in 2008, and he and Millar have said they lack the fight to launch a second appeal before London 2012. But, if Cas rules against the BOA as it is expected, both may now find themselves on the start line in seven months time.

Should drug cheats be free to compete at the Olympic Games? Discuss the issue in this forum thread.

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