By Duncan Mackay

Colin Moynihan_addressing_conferenceNovember 15 - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) were today described as being "toothless" by Colin Moynihan, who called on the organisation to adopt the British Olympic Association's (BOA) draconian bylaw which prevents athletes found guilty of a doping violation from representing Team GB in the Games.

The BOA are now the only National Olympic Committee to have such a ban in place following the decision, revealed by insidethegames yesterday, by Denmark to repeal its rule.

The Danish Sports Confederation (CIF) 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".

The BOA Board, which Moynihan chairs, is due to discuss whether to follow suit at a meeting tomorrow and that could open the door for the likes of Dwain Chambers, the world indoor 60 metres champion, and David Millar, the former world time trial silver medallist, to compete at London 2012. 

But Moynihan is determined to keep the bylaw in place, even though it puts him increasingly out of step with many in British sport.

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) oppose the rule and world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, one of the most hardline anti-drugs campaigners, has claimed that it is unfair that only British athletes face a lifetime ban from the Olympics. 

"In recent days, much has been made of the fact that there is no room for redemption in the BOA's lifetime ban," Moynihan told the International Federations Forum in Lausanne today.
Moynihan said:

"However, I believe we need to ask where in this case is the redemption for the clean athlete denied selection by a competitor who has knowingly cheated, taking the whole 'enchilada' of drugs?

"There is no national team kit for that clean athlete.

"No redemption for him.

"And what is worse the cheat, possibly with a lifelong benefit of a course of growth hormones and other drugs, is back again.

"Under the current WADA Code, if he times his two-year ban correctly he is ready to deny another clean athlete selection for the following Olympic Games.

"We now have a situation where drugs cheats will be able to compete in London 2012 and we have to decide if this is the outcome we want: a watered-down and increasingly toothless gesture towards zero tolerance or whether the driving rationale behind the IOC's former Rule 45 and the BOA bylaw should be incorporated into a global anti-doping policy so that doping punishments encompass not only sanctions but the wholly separate questions of eligibility for competition too."

Even more controversially, Moynihan claimed that WADA's role should be reviewed. 

"Regrettably, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the 10 years since its creation, WADA has been unable to achieve its own, well-intentioned, objectives," said Moynihan, who won an Olympic silver medal in the coxed fours at Moscow in 1980. 

"The inflexible penalty system and a failure to recognise a clear distinction between cheating, and clerical errors or mistakes has alienated many athletes who feel they have been stigmatised by the system as 'guilty before proven innocent'."

Moynihan urged WADA to broaden his scope beyond just trying to catch athletes who are doping and instead also chase after their support team and also try to make sure that every country that competes in the Olympics should come under the same kind of scrutiny. 

"It must go after the doctors, the coaches, and the entourage who aid and abet the cheats," he said.

"The reliance on the formulation of a list which appears to be less than adequately based on science or logic has dented its reputation and most telling of all, with only 59 of 204 Olympic nations 'programme compliant' with the Code, it is understandable that many in sport have concluded that it has underachieved in the 10 years it has been operational.

"Not least because, and the point is worth re-emphasising, the system put in place by WADA has failed to catch the major drug cheats of our time.

"The likes of Marion Jones, many cyclists and the Balco Operation are only a few of those who have been tracked down and prosecuted, not by WADA but by the law enforcement officers."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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