David Owen head and shouldersI was interested to learn that Anita DeFrantz is running for a seat on the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Executive Board.

Ms DeFrantz was chairperson of the Election Committee responsible for supervising the procedure of the controversial Athletes' Commission election that took place at London 2012.

Two of the four candidates polling the most votes in this election -Koji Murofushi of Japan and Taiwan's Mu-yen Chu - were subsequently disqualified for alleged transgressions of the strict campaigning rules governing this contest.

Both appealed their exclusions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, which upheld the original rulings.

As regular readers will know, I followed Chu's case with particular care, even composing a witness statement and testifying verbally at CAS.

As I have written before, I think one must accept the CAS Panel's statement that the former Olympic taekwondo athlete was guilty of violations for "campaigning in an unauthorised area and for distributing name cards and showing various documents via a tablet computer".

Mu-yen Chu with tablet London 2012Mu-yen Chu was disqualified from the IOC elections at London 2012 for, among other things, using a tablet computer to show voters his manifesto

Nonetheless, the affair has dented my faith in the Olympic Movement.

Here's one of the reasons why:

When the Executive Board announced on August 11 that it had approved the Election Committee's recommendation that Chu be withdrawn as a candidate, its statement noted that he had "first breached the Rules of Conduct by distributing gifts".

The Committee "sanctioned this breach by giving him a confidential written warning on 26 July 2012".

This warning, signed by Ms DeFrantz, starts by stating that Chu had been reminded "a couple of days ago" that the rules of conduct "do not allow you to distribute or display anything related to your candidature" for the election.

"Unfortunately", the warning goes on, "despite these alerts, we have heard that you may have continued to violate the rules by handing out lollipops to promote your candidature.

"This e-mail is to remind you once again, that any continuation of this activity will become a violation of the Rules of Conduct and that the Election Committee will take action."

While CAS upheld Chu's disqualification, when I read its so-called Arbitral Award in March 2013, I found that it did not find "sufficient evidence to confirm that Mr Chu distributed lollipops".

Indeed, "the indication of such action was contained only in an email of July 25, 2012, sent to the IOC by Ms Fiona de Jong of the Australian Olympic Committee...who had not herself seen Mr Chu distributing lollipops, but solely referred to information provided by other athletes.

"Such statement, itself second hand hearsay, was not confirmed at the hearing by any deposition or oral evidence."

It might be added that Ms de Jong's email does not name any of the Australian athletes, and that an Australian, James Tomkins, was among 21 candidates vying for the four Commission places.

Tomkins, indeed, secured election with the second-highest number of valid votes.

None of which is to say that the lollipop allegation was demonstrably mistaken - although Chu has always denied it vehemently.

But I think it is reasonable to argue, given the circumstances and the potential gravity of the consequences for the alleged lollipop distributor, that hard evidence of the supposed transgression should have been procured before mention of it was made in a written warning.

This is even though the choice of words allowed for the possibility that the allegation might be unfounded.

Anita De Frantz Vancouver 2010Anita De Frantz was chair of IOC Committee which oversaw the controversial elections at London 2012 for the Athletes' Commission

In fairness to Ms DeFrantz, she was advised by an IOC official, whose duties included monitoring the campaign and who had twice had cause to remind Chu not to display election materials, that "a letter should go on behalf of you as soon as possible".

With the Games in full swing, this would also have been a busy period to say the least.

I suppose it is even conceivable that evidence was gathered, but why would you not then present it to CAS?

The IOC, though, is the most powerful body in world sport.

It is important that its top brass be able consistently to make wise decisions under sometimes intense pressure.

In my opinion, issuing a written warning using those words without seemingly having physical or first-hand oral evidence that the IOC was prepared, if necessary, to present to CAS to support the lollipop allegation was not a wise decision.

David Owen worked for 20 years for the Financial Times in the United States, Canada, France and the UK. He ended his FT career as sports editor after the 2006 World Cup and is now freelancing, including covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 World Cup and London 2012. To follow him on Twitter click here.