February 7 - The British Olympic Association (BOA) should have been more pro-active five years ago if they wanted to uphold their controversial anti-doping bylaw, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) claimed here today.
The BOA and WADA are due to appear before the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) in London next month after WADA claimed that the rule - which prevents any athlete who has served a six month doping ban or longer from representing Britain in the Olympics - is illegal under its Code.
Colin Moynihan, the chairman of the BOA, has been an outspoken critic of WADA and last November claimed they were "letting athletes down" by challenging the bylaw, which was introduced in 1992 and is the only one of its kind in the world.
At the time John Fahey (pictured above), the President of WADA, accused Moynihan of making "misinformed allegations" and his anger has clearly not lessened with time, especially as the Briton has continued to mount a public relations offensive to ensure the matter is kept in the spotlight.
He has been helped in that thanks to the backing of major figures like Sebastian Coe (pictured right with Moynihan), the chairman of London 2012, who has written to CAS in support of the BOA bylaw.
"We have conscientiously and rightfully refused to comment on the matter of the case," said Fahey here at the WADA Media Symposium.
"It is a matter of regret for me that the applicant [the BOA] has made so many public comments."
The row has developed after the CAS declared last November the International Olympic Committee's rule - the "Osaka rule" or "rule 45" - that prevented an athlete who had tested positive for drugs from competing in the next Games was illegal.
That led WADA to write to the BOA to warn them that their bylaw is also therefore illegal and non-compliant, which the BOA are now challenging at the CAS.
But Fahey claimed that ths situation could have been avoided if the BOA had engaged with WADA the last time it reviewed its Code five years ago which now forms the framework for anti-doping rules around the world and which Britain has been judged to be non-compliant.
"Where was the BOA in 2007?" said Fahey, a former Government Minister in Australia.
"We are there to administer the code that is put in place by our signatories and our stakeholders.
"We do what the Charter and the Code tells us we must do.
"We took the decision [to declare the BOA bylaw non-compliant] unanimously according to the evidence available from the IOC case and their rule 45.
"The Code has to be sacrosanct.
"WADA makes no apologises for that."
But the BOA have been offered some hope that even if they lose the CAS case, which is due to take place on March 12, and are forced to pick drugs cheats like sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar (pictured) for London 2012, then some sort of new rule could be introduced in time for Rio 2016.
Another major review of the WADA Code is currently being undertaken and will be adopted at a meeting in Johannesburg in November 2013.
And WADA are prepared to listen to ideas, they claim.
"We have expressed the view that anything is possible," said Olivier Niggli, WADA's legal counsel.
"We would welcome suggestions from the IOC or BOA to see how that would fit into the Code.
"It raises a number of interesting challenges but we are totally open to that."
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