WOA calls to protect the rights of clean athletes

By Robert Fawdon from Monaco, Dec 14, 2015: The World Olympians Association (WOA), the member organisation for Olympians worldwide, has today reaffirmed its full support for all clean athletes and their right to participate in the major sporting events that they have prepared so meticulously for – even if other athletes and administrators from their nation have rightly been found guilty of violating doping regulations.

The WOA believes that a way must urgently be found to ensure that athletes who have dedicated their life to sport without ever giving in to the temptation to take drugs, cheat their fellow competitors, deceive their colleagues and friends, and destroy the integrity of sport have their rights and their reputations protected and honoured.

The WOA is therefore speaking out for those clean athletes that could now be potentially banned from competing due to the illegal and unethical actions of others.

“We believe banning clean athletes is unjust and that sport and its many fans will ultimately pay the price as they will miss the opportunity to see their clean heroes compete at the highest level,” said WOA President Joel Bouzou.

“Of course sanctions should be taken against cheaters whether they are athletes, officials or medical doctors. But the individual rights of clean athletes should also be respected as well as their right to train and to compete in the sport that they love. Perhaps athletes from banned countries that have a perfect anti-doping record could undergo extraordinary testing sessions enabling them to compete. One thing is clear: an urgent solution is needed for athletes who are seeking to qualify for and participate in major events allowing them to train, prepare and compete with certainty.”

“The WOA fully supports the IOC proposal for WADA to run independent testing for International Federations and National Olympic Committees. We must place our trust in the relevant authorities to do everything in their power to improve testing protocols and rid sport of cheats, but we must also respect the rights of clean athletes. It is not only the rights and reputations of athletes at stake, but also their ability to act as role models, inspiring young people and encouraging the next generation to take up sport.”

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