Legal big hitters lined up for BOA’s Chambers case

BRITISH Olympic chiefs have hired the big-hitting barrister who helped reduce England footballer Wayne Rooney’s Euro 2012 ban in their fight to protect their controversial lifetime ban on serious doping offenders.

Adam Lewis QC, of Blackstone Chambers, is part of a heavyweight legal team assembled by the British Olympic Association, who yesterday formally applied to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on the matter.

The BOA is seeking a resolution to its dispute with the World Anti-Doping Authority, which will determine whether sprinter Dwain Chambers is eligible to compete at next year’s London 2012 Olympics. WADA has decreed that the BOA’s indefinite exclusion of any athlete who has served a drugs ban of six months or more amounts to an additional punishment and is therefore “non-compliant”. The BOA argues its policy is not strictly a ban, merely it exercising its right to choose who represents the country.

Lewis, who has also worked with the Rugby Football Union and Chelsea, will be joined on the BOA’s team by colleague David Pannick QC and Baker & McKenzie’s Tom Cassels.

A decision is expected by 12 April 2012, just three months before the Games get underway in east London.

The BOA insists most athletes support its policy, but that claim has been questioned by sprinters Marlon Devonish and Christian Malcolm.