By Duncan Mackay

Dwain_Chambers_examining_spikesApril 28 - UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has backed the United States' attempt to have the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) controversial eligibility rule that will stop defending 400 metres champion LaShawn Merritt from running at London 2012 scrapped, even though it would open the way for British drugs cheats like Dwain Chambers (pictured) to compete at the Olympics.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and IOC have asked the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) to determine the validity of IOC Rule 45, which bars any athlete receiving a doping sanction of greater than six months from competing at the next Olympic Games.

The rule, adopted in 2008, has been criticised as creating a second penalty for athletes who have served their doping suspension.

"I have gone on record previously stating that UK Anti-Doping does not believe that additional eligibility rules provide athletes who are charged with an anti-doping rule violation with any incentive to assist in the fight against doping in sport," Andy Parkinson, the chief executive of UKAD, told insidethegames.

"With London 2012 around the corner, we are very encouraged by this positive development and will watch these proceedings before the CAS with interest."

If the CAS decides in favour of the USOC then it will leave the way for British competitors like Dwain Chambers and David Millar to challenge the British Olympic Association's (BOA) by-law which prevents any athlete with a doping ban from representing Team GB at the Olympics.

Parkinson has previously criticised the rule, claiming that it confuses the situation and impedes the work of organisations like UKAD because there is no incentive for athletes banned for taking drugs to cooperate with them.

Chambers, who tested positive for a cocktail of banned drugs in 2003 and was suspended for two years, tried unsuccessfully to get the ban lifted before the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when he took the BOA to the High Court. 

"At the least any decision will provide clarity around this area and the timing will ensure that this international issue will be resolved well in advance of the 2012 Games," Parkinson said.

"The World Anti-Doping Code, agreed at an international level, encourages athletes to provide substantial assistance which can be grounds for a reduction in the sanction period.

"All Anti-Doping Organisations need the ability to offer athletes the motivation to share information with their relevant authorities, therefore assisting to catch those who are involved in the supply of performance enhancing substances."

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