Former WADA boss Pound questions Chambers ban
Chambers, who failed a drugs test in 2003, is considering a legal challenge to a ruling that presently stops him from representing Great Britain at this August's Beijing Olympics.Updated: Mar 05, 2008 21:52 IST
The man who used to run the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) believes the rule that prevents British sprinter Dwain Chambers from competing at the Olympics because of his drug-taking past may not be enforceable in law.
Dick Pound, who only stepped down from his post in November, has examined the British Olympic Association bye-law that bans all those found guilty of doping offences from representing the country at any future Games, even if they've completed other suspensions, and reckons it is not WADA-compliant.
Chambers, who failed a drugs test in 2003, is considering a legal challenge to a ruling that presently stops him from representing Great Britain at this August's Beijing Olympics.
And Pound believes he has a case.
"As a matter of law, I think the BOA would be on pretty shaky ground," the 65-year-old told BBC Sport.
"If the BOA sought to deny me a place in the 2008 Olympic team on the basis solely of my earlier drugs offence, I would say that they don't have the power to do that," the Canadian lawyer added.
"If you serve the penalty that was deemed appropriate - for whatever the offence was - you are entitled to be reintegrated into society. I've always felt it was fairly clear what the outcome (of a challenge) would be."
There have been 26 successful appeals against the by-law since its introduction in 1992, the most recent being by 400 metre world champion Christine Ohuruogu who served a year-long ban for missing a drugs test before winning gold in Osaka last August.
Chambers received a two-year ban after testing positive for tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) and becoming caught up in the BALCO scandal, which involved the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.
The 29-year-old Londoner returned from his ban in 2005 and was part of the victorious 4x100m squad at the European Championships before attempting to forge a career in American Football.
Then he made another return to the track and this weekend will represent Great Britain in the 60 metres at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia.
British selectors said they didn't want to pick him because of his drugs-record but insisted they had no choice after Chambers won a trial race last month.
Former International Olympic Committee vice-president Pound said: "The BOA is a signatory to WADA's code - those are the rules that govern doping infractions - and the sanction for a first offence is a two-year suspension.
"Chambers has served his ban and I think, depending on your view of criminal justice, if you serve the penalty that was deemed appropriate - for whatever the offence was - you are entitled to be reintegrated into society.
"The additional penalty of never representing Britain again can be seen as a sanction that is over and above what's in the code."
The BOA have no plans to rescind Chambers's ban while an appeal now to the Court of Arbitration for Sport is unlikely as the runner's case would not be heard until after the Olympics.
As a result, it looks as if Chamers will have to take the quicker but more expensive option of going to London's High Court if he is to give himself a chance of being in Beijing.