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WADA chiefs confident four-year ban for serious drugs offences will work

Updated: Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012 10:40 | Comments

Nataliya Tobias of Ukraine (far left) was handed a two-year ban in 2012 after testing positive for testosterone at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu
Nataliya Tobias of Ukraine (far left) was handed a two-year ban in 2012 after testing positive for testosterone at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu

World anti-doping chiefs are confident a minimum four-year ban for serious drugs offences will stand up to legal challenges.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will double the ban for serious offences, such as taking steroids, to four years from 2015 under its new draft code.

WADA president John Fahey said: "I am confident the four years won't breach any current law in any part of the world.

"A life ban is still available for multiple offences." - John Fahey

"We have to be sensible and take into account proportionality and human rights. There is no point putting a penalty that would be thrown out by the civil courts."

Fahey said the proposed tougher sanctions for drugs cheats should bring an end to the British Olympic Association's aim to revive their lifetime ban for dopers.

The BOA's lifetime ban was overturned in the Court or Arbitration for Sport in May after action by WADA but the British body have continued to press to be allowed to retain full control of their selection process.

Fahey said the new code would reflect calls from many countries for tougher sanctions but maintain a global, harmonised code.

Fahey told a conference call: "The court made it abundantly clear that it was paramount there be harmonisation.

"The draft code reflects the desire to increase sanctions and that four-year [ban] will take out somebody competing at the next Olympics, but it is not specific to the BOA or the Olympic movement.

"It is simply a four-year term catch-all that strengthens the code.

"The BOA had their own bylaw which ended in court and was not accepted.

"There was overwhelming support for increased sanctions and a life ban is still available for multiple offences as it is in the old code."

The BOA said the tougher penalties were a step in the right direction.

BOA spokesman Darryl Seibel said: "There has been broad consensus that a two-year sanction for a serious first-time doping offence was insufficient and did not send the right message as a deterrent to those who might consider breaking the rules.

"By strengthening the sanction, WADA is moving the right direction."

The longer ban would see athletes miss at least one Olympic Games - effectively enforcing the same measure as the International Olympic Committee's so-called Osaka Rule which was dropped last year.

The Osaka Rule was successfully challenged by American sprinter LaShawn Merritt in the Court of Arbitration for Sport last year.

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