London 2012 - Pound: BOA conduct 'unworthy of Olympic hosts'

Tue, 29 Nov 13:23:00 2011

The British Olympic Association has "wrapped itself in a cloak of righteousness" in behaviour unworthy of Olympic hosts as it tries to defend its unilateral approach on doping, said former world anti-doping chief Dick Pound.

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"The BOA has put itself in a position of being a rogue," Pound, former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), wrote in the Guardian.

WADA ruled this month that the BOA's controversial lifetime Olympic ban for British drug offenders contravened the world body's own rules, which specify a maximum two-year ban for a first offence.

The BOA, the only national Olympic committee to be found guilty of not complying with WADA rules, has vowed to defend its ban but Pound accused it of double standards, saying the BOA had signed up to the WADA code.

"Instead of engaging in a thoughtful assessment of how to solve the situation, the BOA has resorted to demagoguery and, while blaming everyone else for the effects of its own legal errors, has attempted to wrap itself in a cloak of righteousness, a self-declared David, bravely alone in the face of Goliath.

"Our David is not, however, without feet of clay," said Pound, adding that the BOA's ban had been applied 32 times and successfully challenged 29 times.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last month that an International Olympic Committee rule similar to the BOA's, excluding athletes banned for six months or more from the next Olympics, amounted to a second sanction and contravened WADA's anti-doping code.

British officials should appeal to the CAS if they remained convinced that their ban, which means that sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar will not be able to compete in next year's London Games, was legally valid, added Pound.

"Instead of trumpeting its moral rectitude on the question, the BOA should examine the situation from the perspective of the current legal inability to enforce its bylaw," said Pound.

He said the fight against doping was a worldwide concern, and not just a British matter.

"There seems to be a double standard in play," he added. "Extrapolated to the BOA, the Bard's language might well read: 'The laddy doth protest too much, methinks.'

"The BOA's current conduct is unworthy, especially on the part of the host national Olympic committee when the world comes to London next year," Pound concluded.

"Respect for rules which it participated in adopting should be a matter of pride and conviction, not of being dragged kicking and screaming into forced compliance."

PA Sport

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