POSTED: April 27th 2011

Merritt doping verdict on way after IOC and USOC take 'Osaka Rule' to CAS

Shawn LaMerritt: trapped in the rulebook /
Shawn LaMerritt: trapped in the rulebook /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/LAUSANNE, Apr 27: A definitive ruling which will settle the LaShawn Merritt case is being sought by the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee from the Courtof Arbitration for Sport.

A joint statement of intent has been issued by both the IOC and USOC without mentioned the American who is Olympic and world 400m champion but he was the individual who was threatening to prove a divisive cause celebre ahead of London 2012.

CAS is being asked, formally, to rule on the IOC's "Regulations Regarding Participation in the Olympic Games - Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter" - this is known as the "Osaka" or "Six-Month" rule.

Regulations state that any athlete receiving a doping sanction of greater than six months is barred from competing in the next Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games following the expiration of the doping sanction.

Merritt is under suspension for 21 months for taking DHEA, a banned  substance. He claims that this drug was contained in ExtenZe, a substance to help him “last longer and stay firmer . . . with his lady friend,” which he bought in a local shop.

His excuse was accepted by the American Arbitration Association  (AAA) and the original ban was reduced by three months from the statutory 24. This conveniently would allow him to compete in the 2011 World Championships but would not free him to compete in London. The AAA claimde that this was an additional punishment and thus contrary to the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

Scott Blackmun, ceo of the USOC, said: "In the interest of ensuring that all eligible athletes are able to compete in their respective Olympic qualification process, and to establish a degree of certainty as we head towards the Olympic Games in London, the USOC and the IOC have agreed to place the question of the regulation before the CAS for a definitive ruling.

"I'd like to thank the IOC for their willingness to proceed in this manner and for the quality and the tone of the discussions that we have had regarding this matter."

Christophe De Kepper, the IOC's recently-appointed director-general, said: "This arbitration will provide certainty in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympic Games."

Keywords · IOC · USOC · CAS · WADA · Merritt

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