By Tom Degun

Andy Hunt_2_Team_GB_sailing_announcement_September_20_2011_028December 4 - Andy Hunt, chief executive of the British Olympic Association (BOA), claimed that his organisation feels they must defend their doping bylaw after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared the ruling "non-compliant" with its global code.

The BOA are set to take the dispute to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in an attempt to keep its bylaw, which prevents any athletes with a doping offence against their name from competing for Team GB in the Olympics.

The bylaw has been under heavy pressure since the CAS ruling last month nullified a separate International Olympic Committee (IOC) rule banning any athlete receiving a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next Games but Hunt says the BOA must stand their ground.

"We have not filed with CAS yet but over the coming days, we will develop that situation further," Hunt told insidethegames.

"It is obviously really important for us to have clarity around this situation and on this bylaw because it is not something we need hanging over us we get closer to the Olympics.

"But what I fundamentally believe is that National Olympic Committees should have the ability to select athletes from their country on a set of rules that they themselves have determined.

"That is one of the most important points here.

"For us, this is very much about defending an eligibility right so that a National Olympic Committee can determine who can represent each country at an Olympics and that is what we are fighting for."

Relations between the BOA and WADA have soured in recent weeks after BOA chairman Colin Moynihan engaged in a war of words with the Montreal-based organisation by saying that WADA was "toothless" and that they should adopt the BOA bylaw to have full credibility.

But Hunt stressed that it was not the BOA who began the dispute and that it was actually the joint request for arbitration filed by the IOC and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) on the IOC's rule 45 or "Osaka Rule" which started the issue.

Following the joint request for arbitration earlier this year, CAS ruled that the IOC's rule 45, which banned any athlete serving a suspension of six months or more for doping violations from the subsequent Olympic Games, as "invalid and unenforceable."

The challenge was made following an approach to the USOC convicted American drug cheat LaShawn Merritt will be now be eligible to defend his Olympic 400 metres title at London 2012 Games.

"If we go back a little bit, this issue only came up because of the LaShawn Merritt case with the challenge on the IOC's rule 45," said Hunt.

"It was not something we instigated.

"Our bylaw has been around for 19 years.

"We have the total backing of the athletes on our stance but given that the WADA Foundation Board has declared our eligibility bylaw non-compliant; of course we have to defend that.

"So this issue is not something we created."

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