Daley Thompson backs BOA lifetime bans for drugs cheats

Double Olympic champion Daley Thompson has backed the British Olympic Association's (BOA) fight to maintain lifetime bans for drugs cheats.

The BOA is challenging the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) policy that the ban is "non-compliant" with its code.

"I think the BOA should obviously try their utmost to make sure that people don't get an easy ride," said Thompson.

"If we are the only country in the world prepared to have those high standards, then so be it."

Thompson, speaking as a Laureus World Sports Academy member at the 2011 awards nominations in London, told BBC Sport: "If the people from Wada - who are supposed to be looking after the interests of the good guys but don't - if they're are upset with me then so be it.

"But I do think it's time that sport was as healthy as it possibly can be and, at the moment in terms of drugs, I don't believe that a strong enough position is taken."

The BOA imposes a lifetime Olympic ban on any British athlete banned for more than six months for a doping offence - the only national Olympic committee to do so. However, the policy contradicts Wada's global anti-doping code.

The BOA will take its fight to keep a lifetime ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), and athletes like sprinter Dwain Chambers, who has served a ban, could compete at the 2012 London Olympics if the BOA loses.

"I think the only reason that the BOA should be here is to make sure that sport is played to the highest standards," said Thompson, who won decathlon gold in 1980 and 1984.

"I don't think there's any job more important for the BOA than to ensure that people that don't cheat are not given a bum deal compared to the people that do cheat. Going in and trying to make sure that people that are serious offenders don't compete in the Olympics is what the BOA should be all about.

"Sport can only be played properly if there's fair play."

Some who oppose the lifetime ban cite the likes of Chambers and cyclist David Millar, who have worked to encourage athletes against doping since failing tests themselves.

"It's always difficult when you start personalising it," said Thompson.

"David is probably a brilliant guy, I don't know him - I do know Dwain Chambers and he's a very nice guy too - but I think like a lot of things in society, things have swung a little bit too far and now a lot of people seem to be trying to protect the rights of the people that are cheating.

"Not enough people are looking after the people that don't cheat, that play the game properly and do all the right things.

"Of course both Millar and Chambers are contrite and sorry and all that kind of thing, but the question I'd like to know the answer to is whether, if they hadn't been caught, would they still be cheating?"