Contracts expecting British athletes to forfeit the right of representing their country if they are found guilty of a serious doping offence will definitely come into operation in time for the International Association of Athletics Championships World Indoor Championships in two months.
Niels de Vos, chief executive of UK Athletics, told insidethegames that detailed planning had already gone into the idea and athletes selected for the Championships in Portland, due to take place between March 17 and 20, would be expected to sign the new agreement.
“We won’t know for sure how this measure will stand up legally unless and until it is tested, but we are going to do it, that is for sure, and we are prepared to fight this through the courts if need be,"he said.
“These contracts will be in place in time for the World Indoors, and for every major event after that including the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam and London 2017.
“And I think there will be a lot of sports and other nations that will probably want to follow us.
“I hope they do - I hope UKA can provide the paradigm that allows us to help clear our sport of cheats.”
UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner mentioned the plans involving future contracts in giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on Tuesday (January 260.
“It’s something I’ve been pondering on for many years, and the recent crisis in the sport spurred me into thinking, ‘Can we actually get to do something new about this?’" said de Vos.
“The conceit I came up with was getting athletes to pro-actively agree to a code of conduct, and to commit themselves to it on successive occasions.
“The lawyers we have been consulting also think that could be something that works.
“Many British athletes will be competing internationally at least three times in a year.
“If you have an athlete who has signed three contracts in the space of 12 months, each saying they would willingly forego any future place in the international team if they were to be found guilty of a serious doping offence, then there would not be any possibility for them to deny they knew about the arrangement, or that they were forced to make it.
“Every athlete has the absolute choice of whether they want to sign up to the commitment or not.
“But if an athlete chooses not to sign, what does that say about them?”
De Vos opposed Dwain Chambers’s attempt to compete in the 2008 Olympics following completion of a two-year doping ban – the sprinter failed in his High Court challenge against the rule introduced by the British Olympic Association (BOA) in 1992 which precluded anyone guilty of serious doping offences representing their country at the Games again.
Four years later, however, that BOA rule was annulled as the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided it was a sanction that was not compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.
A similar attempt by the International Olympic Committee to make serious dopers ineligible for one subsequent Olympic Games was also deemed non-compliant with WADA.
“This arrangement is like a pre-penalty,” de Vos said.
“It’s not double jeopardy, where you had athletes banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and then banned again by the British Olympic Association.
“We are getting our retaliation in first.
“Of course it is vital that we define exactly what is meant by a ‘serious doping offence’, and that is the nitty gritty detail we are looking into right now.
“We want athletes to be confident about the terms of the agreement.
“But this is not about penalising innocent mistakes – it is about catching people who are actively and deliberately cheating.
“And we have time to do it - if necessary we can keep working until the day the team get on the plane for Portland – that’s the actual deadline for signing.”