IOC propose reintroducing controversial Osaka Rule to keep drug cheats out of Olympics

November 22, 2016 0

From Inside the Games

A reintroduction of the controversial Osaka Rule, banning athletes convicted of serious doping offences from competing at the next Olympic Games, has been proposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to be part of the World Anti-Doping Code.

IOC Athletes’ Commission vice-chair Tony Estanguet called for athletes who have served suspensions longer than six months to be excluded from the next edition of the Olympics.

“The IOC would like to propose a new amendment to the Code regarding the eligibility of athletes to compete at the Olympic Games,” the Frenchman, a three-time Olympic champion in canoe slalom, said at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board meeting here.

“If there are athletes who have served a suspension of more than six months, they should not participate in any capacity in the next edition of the Games.”

The Osaka Rule – previously Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter – was originally drafted to allow the IOC to prevent athletes who had received a doping sanction of more than six months from representing their country at the Games.

It was introduced by the IOC in 2007 during the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship in Osaka – hence the name.

It was, however, successfully challenged by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in 2011 on behalf of Beijing 2008 400 metres champion LaShawn Merritt at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The USOC claimed the rule was unfair because it was effectively punishing an athlete twice for the same offence and CAS agreed.

That, in turn, led to WADA successfully overturning the British Olympic Association’s (BOA) bylaw, initiated when now WADA President Sir Craig Reedie was chair in 1992, which banned any athlete convicted of a serious doping offence from representing Team GB at the Games.

The ruling became part of the World Anti-Doping Code in 2012 only to be removed the same year due to legal fears.

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