Exclusive: Coe claims four year drugs ban sends out "powerful deterrent" to cheats

Tuesday, 20 November 2012
By Duncan Mackay at the Windsor Barra Hotel in Rio de Janeiro

Sebastian Coe in Rio November 2012November 20 - Sebastian Coe has backed the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) proposal to double the length of bans from two to four years for athletes who test positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Coe has long been a vocal anti-doping campaigner - throughout his time as an athlete and an administrator - and supported the British Olympic Association's (BOA) life ban for any Briton caught doping.

The BOA was forced to scrap the life ban earlier this year - allowing cyclist David Millar and athletes Carl Myerscough and Dwain Chambers to represent Team GB at London 2012 - but had submitted a proposal to WADA pushing for a four-year ban.

The new proposal does not specifically ban an athlete from the Olympics but Coe, elected earlier this month as the new chairman of the BOA, believes that the rule will go a long way to solving the issue.

Dwain Chambers thumbs up London 2012Dwain Chambers was able to represent TeamGB at London 2012 after the BOA was forced to drop its lifetime ban on drugs cheats

"You know where I come from over drugs," Coe told insidethegames here where he has been attending the London 2012 debriefing.

"My stance has always been non-negotiable and I believe that this new rule sends out a powerful deterrent that the world will not accept athletes taking drugs.

"Ninety-nine per cent of [British] athletes supported that [BOA] byelaw and I am sorry that we weren't able to uphold it.

"We not may have the lifetime ban but this will help address our concerns.

"For any athlete to miss an Olympic Games is a major thing in their career and with a four year  ban that makes that almost a certainty, which is a good thing I believe."

Coe is confident that WADA will come up with a framework that will stop athletes from challenging the longers suspensions, as happened in the 1990s when competitors from several countries overturned four year bans imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

"We have to recognise that we are in a complex and complicated legal landscape but I remain absolutely confident that we can make this stick," he said. 

"There is a willingness to deal with this problem that makes me feel optimistic about the future."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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