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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Olympic chief ponders ban change
Drugs in sport
The British Olympic Association (BOA) may lighten the punishments for athletes who miss drugs tests.

At present athletes who fail or miss drugs tests are banned for life from representing Britain at the Olympics.

BOA chief Colin Moynihan told the BBC: "The current bylaw was put there because we were focusing on those who were actively cheating.

"We need to review whether the catch-all bylaw is relevant in all cases and that we shall be doing."

The case of British 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu was high profile after she was banned for missing three drugs tests.

Ohuruogu never actually failed any drugs tests but the ban was upheld.

"Recent cases have led to the Olympic governing body saying they need to review this," said Moynihan.

Moynihan also defended the BOA's new anti-drugs commission.

"This is one of the highest-powered commissions ever established in the UK," he said.


"As the 2012 Olympic host nation collectively we, the Government and its agencies, have a duty to be a world-leading country in the fight against doping."

Earlier this year, a cross-party committee of MPs recommended that an independent body be put in charge of national doping controls, rather than UK Sport.

Professor Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the International Olympic Committee's medical commission, will act as an advisor to the new BOA commission.

In an interview with The Times, he has called for doping to be criminalised, and said: "A coming host of an Olympic Games should show a good example."

Moynihan said the BOA was considering the criminalisation of doping offences, as is the case in Italy and France.

"We will certainly be looking very closely at whether new legislation should be recommended and considered by Parliament in this context."

However UK Sport's head says his organisation should be left alone to concentrate on its battle to eradicate doping.

John Steele voiced concerns about the BOA's anti-drugs commission.

"There needs to be clarity about who is responsible for what," said the UK Sport chief executive.

"The last thing British sport needs as we build up to Beijing 2008 and London 2012 is distraction, confusion about roles and duplication of effort."

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