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September 22, 2017

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Official criticizes world doping body's policies

LONDON -- The head of Britain's Olympic committee called Tuesday for an independent review of the World Anti-Doping Agency, accusing the global body of failing to catch the worst offenders and dragging the fight against drug cheats into a "dark age."

"Never have the sanctions against the hard-line cheats been so weak since the end of the Cold War," British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan said in a hard-hitting speech to international sports federation leaders.

Moynihan said only 59 of the world's 204 national Olympic committees are in compliance with WADA's anti-doping code, and that law-enforcement agencies — not WADA — were responsible for breaking up the major doping rings and prosecuting cases such as the BALCO scandal.

It was one of the harshest public attacks ever launched by a senior Olympic official against WADA, which was formed 10 years ago to unify anti-doping rules, sanctions and policies.

"It is understandable that many in sport have concluded that (WADA) has underachieved in the 10 years it has been operational," Moynihan said in Lausanne, Switzerland. "Not least because ... the system put in place by WADA has failed to catch the major drug cheats of our time.

"Marion Jones and countless others have flourished during the WADA era — isn't that enough to prompt an independent audit of the organization tasked with policing sport?"

Moynihan's strong words reflected his determination to defend the BOA's own tough anti-doping rule that bans British doping violators from the Olympics for life. The BOA bylaw has come under pressure since the Court of Arbitration for Sport threw out an IOC rule barring athletes who have received drug bans of more than six months from competing in the next Olympics.

"The time for a fundamental review of WADA, and what it has actually achieved, is long overdue," Moynihan said. "We now have a situation where drug cheats will be able to compete in London 2012 ... Anti-doping policy is entering a dark age."

The former British sports minister, who serves in the House of Lords, questioned WADA's banned substance list, describing it as "less than adequately based on science or logic."

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