Friday, July 18, 2008

Chambers loses appeal against BOA by-law

And it ends with a whimper. Dwain Chambers has lost his appeal for a temporary injunction against the British Olympic Association's lifelong ban for anyone who has previously tested positive for banned substances. The judge apparently had some critical words for Chambers' legal team, and in particular relating to the last-minute nature of the request (which could have been lodged at any time in the last three years, as the issue that has arisen was entirely foreseeable), holding that

Many people both inside and outside sport would see this bylaw as unlawful. In my judgment, it would take a much better case than the claimant has presented to persuade me to overturn the status quo at this stage and compel his selection for the Games.

I have not yet been able to get my hands on a copy of the judgment (anyone?), but from how the matter is being reported in the press at least, it seems that ultimately there was very little of GAL relevance in the case, with the main focus being on the suggestion that banning Chambers would have constituted an unfair restriction on trade. A curious argumentative platform, given that the Olympics remains an amateur competition, and no prize money is awarded.

I'm still hoping, however, that the actual judgment will show that the issue of the incompatibility of the BOA by-law with the WADA Anti-Doping Code, to which the BOA is a signatory, was raised and discussed. The media is only really reporting the trade angle, along with some pretty irrelevant arguments as to whether Chambers was the UK's best chance of a medal in the 100 metres, and whether he is a suitable role-model for athletics in general. Will post more if/when the actual judgment becomes available...

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