January 11 - The British Olympic Association's (BOA) two leading officials remain staunchly adamant about winning the fight to maintain their blanket Olympic ban on drugs cheats.

March 12 has been set as the date at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for the BOA to defend its controversial anti-doping bylaw which, if it is overturned, would see the likes of Dwain Chambers and David Millar being allowed to compete at the London 2012 Games.

The BOA filed a formal appeal last month with the CAS to challenge the decision in November by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which declared its controversial anti-doping bylaw non-compliant.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the hearing date was set, BOA chairman Colin Moynihan (pictured) admitted the dispute was an unfortunate distraction but reiterated that the BOA were fiercely committed to its anti-doping principles.

"It's a widely debated issue nationally and internationally because the importance of it is central to sport," Moynihan told insidethegames.

"It's about the right of a national sports body to select athletes and ensure those who are selected are clean.

"Our selection policy has stood the test of time."

Moynihan argued WADA itself needed to put its house in order.

"If you look at other National Olympic Committees, under 50 are fully compliant with the processes and procedures written down by the WADA code," he said.

"It is not the case that 203 out of 204 are fully compliant."

The BOA, Moynihan revealed, would not be content just with winning the high-profile case in March.

"The second challenge is to see far reaching and fundamental reforms of WADA in the context of the current review of the WADA code which will be finally implemented in January 2015," he said.

"We want to play a key and central role in arguing for far reaching changes across the board – including the testing procedures.

"We believe there should be a total review of the policy whereby many athletes in the world who are clean currently feel they are guilty because of the procedures imposed upon them by WADA and have to prove themselves innocent.

"That's got to change."

If the BOA loses its case at the CAS, it will leave the way clear for Chambers, the world indoor 60 metres champion, and cyclist Millar, the 2010 world time trial silver medallist, to compete at London 2012.

The BOA bylaw pre-dates the WADA code and Moynihan was supported by BOA chief executive and Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt (pictured).

"Someone has to take the lead for what is right," Hunt told insidethegames.

"We are passionate about clean sports and sometimes someone has to stand up and be counted over issues like this.

"We are on track to defend the right of a national committee to select athletes on the basis on which it chooses."

By Andrew Warshaw

Source: www.insidethegames.biz


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