BOA will not relent in battle against scrapping lifetime ban for drug cheats
Relentless: BOA Chairman Lord Moynihan insists the organisation will not back down
The British Olympic Association have launched a staunch defence of the by-law that bans British drug cheats for life and have vowed to fight against plans to scrap it in March.
For the last 20 years any British athlete found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs has been banned for competing for Britain in the Olympics, but that could all change during a court hearing scheduled for March 17.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will hear a challenge to the by-law from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who have accused the BOA of breaking their anti-doping code.
Other countries currently ban their drug cheats for a minimum of two years, but BOA chairman Lord Moynihan says that is not enough and claims that Britain needs a lifetime ban to prevent youngsters from being encouraged to dope.
'The current WADA policy of a serious doping offence just leading to a two-year ban is sending out absolutely the wrong message to young people across the world,' Lord Moynihan said.
Banned: Cyclist David Millar might be allowed to participate in the games if the BOA do not win
Hopeful: Dwain Chambers also hopes to participate
'Our message is different. Our
message is: if you go out there and you take a cocktail of drugs and you
knowingly cheat a fellow member of your team out of selection from the
British Olympic team, you will never be selected.
'That message will have stopped a lot of
athletes who might have been tempted to take drugs to enhance
performance in the past from ever going near them.
'That's why we have had very few positive tests because everyone knows the consequences to those who use drugs to cheat.
'If they are taken away, we think that would be wrong and it would be sending out simply the wrong message.
'We want to make sure we select clean athletes for the Games and we want to make sure that aspiring athletes know that we are going to take a very tough line.'
The BOA have employed a crack team of lawyers to help them in their fight to keep the by-law, which they say enjoys huge support among the vast majority of British athletes, and Moynihan claims the organisation are working hard to make sure they succeed when CAS hears the case.
'We are putting all the hours in available to us to make our case,' he said.
'We will not select those who have knowingly cheated to deny clean athletes selection from the British Olympic team. It's a by-law that has been supported by 90% of our athletes for 20 years and it's one that we will vigorously defend.'
If the BOA lose their fight, banned athletes like Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar, would be allowed to participate at the Olympics.