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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 July 2007, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Edwards backs Coe on drugs stance
Jonathan Edwards
Edwards is a former Olympic, European and World champion
Jonathan Edwards has backed Lord Coe's demands for the re-introduction of four-year bans for drug cheats.

London 2012 chairman Coe hit out after a week in which doping scandals rocked the Tour de France and 800m runner Jolanda Ceplak tested positive for EPO.

And Britain's triple jump world record holder Edwards said: "Seb is right. Two years is not sufficient for what athletes do to our sport by cheating.

"It was a sad day when the ban was reduced from four years to two."

Former double Olympic champion Coe, who is also a member of the IAAF council, revealed he will pressing the World Anti-Doping Agency on the longer penalty.

Anything we can do to make our sport as clean as it can be, including four-year bans is vital.

Jonathan Edwards

And Edwards told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek programme: "If you introduced a four-year ban you take out a huge chunk out of an athlete's career so the disincentive to cheat is much greater.

"Athletics, like cycling, sufferers immensly from drugs cheating so anything we can do to make our sport as clean as it can be, including four-year bans, is vital."

Coe admitted, however, he was uneasy with calls from IOC member Professor Arne Ljunqvist to criminalise drugs in sport ahead of London 2012.

Coe added: "My experience tells me you need to tread very carefully before you go down the road of criminalisation as they have in Italy and France.

"People take EPO and steroids to cheat but you've got to be careful that your first response is not that if you're a cocaine addict you throw away the keys. The first response is to help someone back to a normalised existence.

"That is the view shared by IOC president Jacques Rogge. He thinks this takes a lot more thought than just criminalisation."

Wada president Dick Pound welcomed Coe's comments.

"We certainly would not disagree with what Seb is saying," said Pound.

"For some time now, we have been moving towards a four-year ban in certain aggravated cases."



SEE ALSO
Olympic chief ponders ban change
24 Jul 07 |  Olympics 2012
Ceplak fails doping test for EPO
26 Jul 07 |  Athletics


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