By David Owen

Denmark NOC_logoNovember 13 - The Danish Sports Confederation (DIF) has abrogated rules forbidding former doping offenders from representing Denmark in the Olympic Games, in a move likely to increase pressure on the British Olympic Association (BOA) to take similar steps.

DIF said the decision was a reaction to last month's landmark ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that an International Olympic Committee (IOC) ban on convicted drug cheats was "invalid and unenforceable".

Niels Nygaard, DIF chairman, said the body was taking the "natural consequence" of the CAS ruling.

The IOC's Rule 45, created in June 2008, had barred any athlete who had received a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next Olympic Games.

CAS's ruling followed a joint request for arbitration filed by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the IOC itself.

One immediate consequence of the decision was to clear the way for US athlete LaShawn Merritt to defend his Olympic 400 metres title at London 2012.

But it was also apparent that the CAS ruling might force the BOA to re-think its regulations.

That could open a path for the likes of 100m sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar to compete at future Olympic Games.

BOA chairman Colin Moynihan vowed immediately after the CAS ruling to do "everything in my power" to keep in place the BOA bylaw, which prevents athletes found guilty of a doping violation from taking part in any British Olympic team.

He told a press conference that the bylaw was "tough but fair" and contended that, whereas the IOC's rule stipulated a further sanction on an athlete testing positive for an illegal substance, the BOA rule addressed their eligibility instead.

It remains to be seen whether the Danish move affects this stance in any way.

The DIF Board - which, as a National Olympic Committee, has the authority to select participants for the Olympic Games – originally adopted its rule in February 2004.

It said that, in practice, nobody was excluded from participation in the Olympics because of the rule.

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