Edwards in favour of ban change
Former Olympic triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards is happy that the BOA's lifetime ban for drug cheats looks set to be overturned.
The British Olympic Association revealed last week they were resigned to defeat in their battle to keep a by-law which has allowed them to ban any drug cheats from competing at a future Olympics for life since 1992.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) insist the by-law is "non-compliant" with their global charter on anti-doping, which states an athlete found guilty of taking a prohibited substance should be given a two-year ban.
The news that the BOA expect to lose their case, which is being heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), was met with disappointment by leading British figures in the Olympic movement such as London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe and four-time gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy.
Edwards, a member of the London 2012 board who won gold at the Sydney Olympics 12 years ago, does not agree with Coe and Hoy, claiming he thinks a lifetime ban is too harsh, although he does admit a two-year suspension is too lenient.
"Athletes should get a second chance. I wouldn't personally support a lifetime ban," Edwards said.
"The reason the BOA brought their by-law is that because four-year bans for a serious drug offence turned into two. Two years is simply not enough. It's too lenient. It sends out the wrong kind of message.
"An athlete should miss one Olympic cycle if they test positive for drugs.
"What the world needs to do is to unite and introduce four-year bans. Then we would be in a much stronger position."
CAS heard arguments from both sides at a hearing in London last month and they confirmed in a statement this afternoon they will publish their decision next week.
Should the BOA lose the case, sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar are likely to be part of Team GB for this summer's Olympics. Chambers tested positive for the anabolic steroid THG, while Millar admitted to doping after a police investigation.
The BOA insist the vast majority of British athletes support their by-law and having drug cheats among the ranks for a home Olympics could therefore upset a few team members, but Edwards is confident Chambers and Millar would be welcomed back.
He said: "I think it's really a bit of a non-issue because Dwain Chambers has been competing for UK Athletics for the last five years and David Millar has been competing with British Cycling for a large number of years.
"He was team captain when Mark Cavendish won the World Championships so I don't think there is going to be any issue in terms of incorporating these athletics back into the team."
Edwards was speaking at the London 2012 Anti-Doping Laboratory in Harlow, Essex, which today received WADA's seal of approval to be the centre for testing during the Games.
The 150-strong staff at the impressive facility, which has been bankrolled by a £20million donation from GlaxoSmithKline, will test over 625 samples and will be open 24 hours a day throughout the Olympics.
Organisers are hopeful the lab will help London become the cleanest Games in history.
Edwards said: "This is a state-of-the-art testing facility.
"We want this message to get out to the athletes: Don't come to London if you are thinking of cheating because we will catch you.
"It's important for everyone at London 2012 that we do.
"We owe it to the world and the athletes to show that we support their performance and that we have the best anti-doping facility."