March 12 - British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Colin Moynihan (pictured) revealed he is "cautiously optimistic" of securing victory in his bid to retain his organisation's controversial lifetime ban ruling on convicted drug cheats following the all-important hearing from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Moynihan attended the hearing in person here at Tower 42 on Old Broad Street in London as the BOA put forward their case via external legal advisor Lord David Pannick QC of Blackstone to a three-man CAS panel in their attempt to overturn the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruling that declared its anti-doping bylaw non-compliant.
Should the appeal prove unsuccessful, which is considered likely, convicted drug cheats like sprinter Dwain Chambers (pictured) and cyclist David Millar will be able to be selected to compete for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
But Moynihan admits he is quietly confident that the BOA will be able to defend their stance after the hearing and predicted that the CAS panel will reach a decision on the dispute within a month.
"It was a good day where all the arguments were put very strongly by both sides," said Moynihan at the conclusion of the hearing.
"One of the questions that we put [to the CAS panel] was to try and get a resolution as soon as possible.
"My expectation is about a month but we don't want it any longer than that because it is in the interest of the athletes that they know what the outcome will be so they can start preparing for London 2012 as soon as possible.
"But we don't anticipate the finding before mid-April.
"But today was good.
"There was good work and outstanding legal representation.
"Lord Pannick [who represented the BOA when they successfully resisted a claim in the High Court by Chambers to allow him to compete at the Beijing 2008 Olympics] was really first rate.
"He spoke for us at length, did all the presentations throughout the day and was truly exceptional in pulling together all the strands of our case.
"But above all, the voice of the athletes came over strong and loud and I think they were listened to today.
"So I am cautiously optimistic."
Moynihan continued that his biggest concern after the case is that the BOA loses their appeal because he feels they are representing the greatest concerns of the athletes.
"The greatest concern is that we don't win," he said.
"That is because we represent the athletes, who have always voted that we take a tough line on those who knowingly cheat.
"We have had this bylaw in place for 20 years and it has always had the full support of the athletes.
"We have done our best to represent the athletes and the 204 National Olympic Committees should have the right to select the athletes they wish to select.
"But the findings may dwell on the finer legal points rather than the greater moral issue here."
The CAS panel that heard the case was led by Canadian barrister Professor Richard McLaren (pictured), who also heard the LaShawn Merritt case which overturned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision which prevented athletes banned for more than six months from competing in the next Games and led to calls for the BOA to scrap its bylaw, resulting in this case.
McLaren, a former student at the London School of Economics, was joined on the panel by Switzerland's Michele Bernasconi and American David Rivkin, who were also the arbitrators for the Merritt case, at the request of Moynihan.
"We thought it was important to have the LaShawn Merritt case because they have already sat through the issues and therefore have a strong knowledge of all the issues at play here," said Moynihan.
Meanwhile, Pannick was aided by Adam Lewis QC, who is also from Blackstone Chambers, while they were supported by Tom Cassels of Baker & McKenzie, who also worked on ensuring Chambers was unable to compete in Beijing.
Sara Sutcliffe BOA director of legal and human resources was also in attendance at the hearing.
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March 2012: Exclusive - Defiant Moynihan says athletes will always defend BOA position
February 2012: Chambers beginning to dream of London 2012, he admits
January 2012: Coe and Robertson back BOA in court battle with WADA
January 2012: BOA anti-doping bylaw hearing moved from Lausanne to London
January 2012: Exclusive - BOA submit documents in doping bylaw case to CAS