IOC chief backs plan for 4-year doping bans

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Associated Press

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 27 at 1:36 AM

AMSTERDAM (AP) — IOC President Jacques Rogge supports proposals to double the length of doping bans to four years as a way of keeping drug cheats out of the Olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is planning to raise the penalty from two to four years for serious drug violations in the next version of the global anti-doping code, which comes up for approval next year and goes into effect in 2015.

"We are waiting for the final text but already what is on the table today is something that is heartening for us," Rogge said Monday at conference in Amsterdam.

Rogge said the proposal "is something that satisfies us in that it endorses increasing sanctioning for what I would call heavy doping."

He said the change would be in line with the International Olympic Committee's previous failed attempt to bar any athlete slapped with a ban of more than six months from competing in the subsequent Olympics.

The so-called "Osaka Rule" was thrown out last year by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on grounds that the sanction represented a second penalty for the same offense and did not comply with the WADA code.

WADA's proposed four-year bans should serve the same purpose as the IOC rule.

"This is something that is completely in line with the Osaka Rule, because the Osaka Rule was to stop the athletes to participate in the next games if their penalty was higher than six months," Rogge said. "Now with this high penalty of four years, automatically you don't participate in the next games."

Rogge also said the IOC is still studying the case against Lance Armstrong to see if it can strip the American cyclist of the bronze medal he won in the time trial at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Armstrong has already been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for involvement in what the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency called the biggest doping conspiracy in sports.

The IOC must consider its eight-year statute of limitations before deciding whether to take away Armstrong's Olympic medal.

"There is still legal work to be done," Rogge said.

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