WADA president says Armstrong very unlikely to get any reduction in lifetime ban
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

WADA president says Armstrong very unlikely to get any reduction in lifetime ban

by Shane Stokes at 10:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
“It would take something close to a miracle to see that changed”

Lance ArmstrongLance Armstrong’s hopes of having a considerably shortened ban took a serious knock today when the president of the World Anti Doping Agency, John Fahey, appeared to play down the chances of that ever happening.

The American was handed a lifetime ban last year after he declined to defend the case built against him by the US Anti Doping Agency. He finally admitted his guilt several months later while being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. Since then he has complained on several occasions about the severity of his sanction, telling the BBC yesterday that if there is a truth and reconciliation process, that he believes he should get similar bans to the other riders who doped on the US Postal Service team.

“If everyone gets the death penalty, then I'll take the death penalty," he said on the World Service’s Newshour programme,” referring to a lifetime ban. “If everyone gets a free pass, I'm happy to take a free pass. If everyone gets six months, then I'll take my six months.”

The witnesses who came forward to USADA admitting their guilt but also implicating Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and others as having been involved in the team’s doping were given a six month ban last year. Armstrong appears to be angling for the same but is forgetting several distinctions between his case and theirs.

Firstly, he declined to cooperate when asked to do so. He was a part owner of the team and, according to the witnesses, used that position to try to force others to used banned substances. He was also accused of providing doping products, transporting such items, carrying out fraud and lying under oath.

In fact, the latter is crucial in him receiving such a long ban and losing all of his Tour titles; giving false testimony in an earlier case reset the statute of limitations, so the usual eight year limitation did not apply.

Armstrong may be pushing for a big reduction in his ban, but Fahey appeared dismissive about the prospect when speaking at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s done and dusted. Armstrong did what he did, we all know what that is,” he said, according to the Telegraph. “He did not co-operate, he did not defend the charges that USADA put out there last year and he was dealt with.

“The proper process and the reasoned decision that was released by USADA was, to me, irrefutable. Now, does he wish to come good and indicate to the world what he knows, not just about himself, perhaps, maybe about others? I don’t know.

“The simple fact is that the only one that can reopen – and there’d have to be a damned good reason – the case against Lance Armstrong is USADA.

“There would have to be an extraordinarily powerful reason as I would see it.”

USADA had indicated before that if Armstrong gave significant information, that his ban could be reduced to eight years. He met with the agency’s CEO Travis Tygart in December of last year, but those talks stalled before any disclosure of information was made. Armstrong wasn’t happy with what was offered and walked away.

He’s since said repeatedly that he won’t deal with USADA. Fahey points out that what he knows will become less and less relevant as time passes and others come forward with information.

“You have to wonder, with time, just how valuable the information is that he may have. I see it as done and dusted and it would take something close to a miracle to see that changed.”

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