UK Athletics propose forcing athletes to agree to life ban if convicted of serious doping offences
British athletes convicted of “serious” doping offences could automatically forfeit the right to future selection for all international competitions, UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner has warned.
Warner, who earlier this month called for all world records to be scrapped and restarted, was speaking at today’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing on blood doping in athletics in London, the third such session held since the latest wave of scandals hit the sport last year.
He also reiterated his belief that Russia’s suspension by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) should not be lifted until after this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro following allegations of systemic doping.
He also again claimed that the bids from Doha for both the 2017 and 2019 World Championships have each been referred to the IAAF Ethics Commission to investigate possible bribes in the form of “brown envelopes”.
His plans for athletes to sign contracts “forfeiting the right to ever be picked for Britain again” if found guilty of a serious doping offence could come into force in time for the World Indoor Championships due to take place in Portland from March 17 to 20..
The idea “has never been tested” in court but UK Athletics are reportedly already discussing it with their lawyers.
It effectively appears another way of introducing a life ban, a concept International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach claimed was “legally just not possible” last year.
Such a contract would have prevented the return of sprinter Dwain Chambers to international competition three years after he tested positive for anabolic steroid THG (tetrahydrogestrinone) in 2003.
It would presumably not have applied, however, in the cases of 800 metre runner Gareth Warburton and 400m hurdler Rhys Williams, two London 2012 Olympians who were banned for six and four months respectively in 2014 despite being cleared of “deliberately” trying to cheat by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) after it was ruled they each mistakenly drank a contaminated energy drink.
Warner, meanwhile. refused to reveal the names of the “very senior IAAF person” who had told him about brown envelopes “full of cash” being handed out by Qatari officials shortly before the vote for the 2017 World Championships – eventually awarded to London – and the 2019 edition won by Doha.
“I have had a number of discussions with the IAAF and they have told me the 2017 and 2019 bids by Doha have been referred to their Ethics Commission,” he said.
The Qatar Athletics Federation has denied any wrongdoing, although French prosecutors are also thought to be analysing bidding processes for all World Championships awarded for events between 2009 and 2022 as part of their investigation into IAAF corruption.
This followed the arrest of former IAAF President Lamine Diack for alleged involvement in accepting bribes to cover up Russian doping failures, with his successor Sebastian Coe – who appeared at the second Select Committee hearing on December 2 – having been a voting IAAF vice-president during this period.
Russia was suspended from the IAAF in November at a Council meeting chaired by Coe in Monte Carlo and will only compete in athletics Rio 2016 if the ban is lifted in time.
Warner’s call for the ban to remain in place was echoed by UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead, whose organisation have been working with the Russians in recent weeks as they bid to improve their anti-doping facilities.
When asked if Russia could clean-up its procedures before the Olympics, which open in the Brazilian city on August 5, she answered: “I don’t think so.”
Sapstead added: “What we have seen is so entrenched that it could be a number of years before there is any credibility.”
By Nick Butler this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz