UK Athletics plans to ask athletes to sign a pledge waiving their right to Great Britain selection for life should they be convicted of a serious doping offence in the future
British athletes will be asked to sign a pledge agreeing to forfeit their Great Britain career if they are ever convicted of a serious doping offence in the future, UK Athletics (UKA) chairman Ed Warner has said.
Speaking at a Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee meeting on blood doping in athletics, Warner (pictured) explained how the national governing body hopes to introduce the clause into the British Athletics team member’s agreement so that it is active ahead of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in March.
The action comes after UKA released a document entitled “A Manifesto for Clean Athletics” earlier this month which included a series of proposals that the national governing body said could be introduced to “achieve a new era of clean athletics”.
The final proposal focuses on UKA’s commitment to exploring how to best legally implement a rule that would see athletes who commit a serious anti-doping violation receive a lifetime ban from representing GB.
“The World Indoor Championships are in America in March. Every time you compete for Britain you have to sign a team member’s agreement with us which means you behave in a certain way, don’t behave in other ways, and so on,” Warner told the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
“What we are going to try and achieve this time is that athletes picked for the team in March, in the team member’s agreement, sign up to say if in future I am ever convicted of a serious doping offence, I’m saying here and now I know I will be forfeiting my right ever to be picked for Britain again.”
Highlighting that at this stage, under UKA’s power this would apply for athletes being selected for events including world and European championships, rather than Olympic and Paralympic Games, Warner added: “I think any sensible clean athlete will have no problem, when they have got the team member’s agreement under their nose, signing that to say I’m on the team for the World Indoors. If they are subsequently banned then there is no way back for them.
“That is much easier to achieve than retrospectively saying someone was banned in the past, can they now come back on the team.
“Looking forwards, if we can draw a line and say in future to come on to the team you have to say if I’m ever banned in future I’ll never be picked again, that’s achievable. That’s much more likely to stand up in a court of law.”
The case of Dwain Chambers was mentioned by the Committee, with the sprinter having been cleared to compete for Great Britain ahead of the London 2012 Olympics after the British Olympic Association’s rule on life bans for doping offenders was overturned.
Explaining that UKA are currently in talks with their lawyers about creating the clause, Warner added: “Our intention is that the team in March in Oregon at the World Indoors will have each of them signed an agreement that says if I am ever convicted of a doping offence I know you can’t pick me again, I’m not eligible for selection.
“In so many of these things the fight is worth having because the cause is so important. If x years down the line someone manages through a court of law to overturn that, I think that the moral high ground will have been occupied by UK Athletics through that process and the public will recognise the merit in what we were trying to achieve, which is to keep cheats out of British vests.”