The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled that the British Olympic Association (BOA) lifetime ban for athletes convicted of cheating with drugs is unlawful, in a move that could see sprinter Dwaine Chambers and cyclis t David Millar compete for Great Britain in London this summer.
The CAS was asked to rule on whether the BOA policy was consistent with the policies of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in a case which the BOA were widely tipped to lose.
In a statement, the CAS said: "The (BOA) by-law is a doping sanction and is therefore not in compliance with the WADA code. The CAS confirms the view of the WADA foundation board as indicated in its decision."
"Therefore, the appeal of BOA is rejected, and the decision of the WADA foundation board is confirmed," they added.
In addition to losing the case, the BOA has been ordered to pay the full cost of the arbitration, which it has previously been reported could run to over £200,000. The organisation had hired top barrister Lord David Pannick to represent them, although it is thought that Lord Pannick did so at reduced rates.
Hugh Robertson, the sports and Olympics minister was disappointed with the result.
"I supported the BOA's position, as our national Olympic committee, in having the autonomy to set its own eligibility criteria for Team GB athletes," he said.
"I accept this ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport but it is very disappointing," he added.
Mr Robertson went on to back the stance of UK Anti-Doping who have made their first submission to a WADA review of the World Anti-Doping Code, which UK Anti-Doping feel is too lenient. They would like to see sanctions toughened as a deterrent to those athletes who cheat with drugs and ruin sporting events and spectacles.
Following the announcement, UK Athletics confirmed that any athletes who were affected by the previous BOA ban would now be eligible for selection.
In a statement they said: "Athletes affected by the ruling are now eligible for the team, in both individual and relay events, and will be subject to the same selection criteria and process as every other British athlete."
Read more on the story (The Independent)
Drugs law overview (FindLaw)