Montreal - The World Anti-Doping Agency has initiated a review of its global rules, a process that will deal with the contentious issue of keeping drug cheats out of the Olympics.
WADA is inviting sports bodies and anti-doping organisations to submit any proposed changes for the revision of the World Anti-Doping Code, the document which sets out harmonised drug-testing rules and sanctions across all sports and countries.
The code, which first went into force in 2004, is reviewed every few years. The current two-year review period will conclude with adoption of a revised code at the next world anti-doping conference in Johannesburg in November 2013.
WADA is asking its members to submit proposed amendments by March 15, 2012.
The review, announced on Monday night, coincides with a debate over the validity of IOC and British doping rules for Olympic eligibility.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport recently nullified the IOC rule barring athletes with a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next Olympics. The court said the rule amounted to a second sanction and was not in compliance with the WADA code.
The IOC has said it will seek to get the rule, or a similar provision, written into the next version of the code.
WADA, meanwhile, ruled last week that the British Olympic Association was "non-compliant" with the code because of its rule banning British doping violators from the Olympics for life.
The BOA has strenuously defended the rule, describing it as an eligibility issue and not a sanction, and plans to appeal to CAS.
The issue has sparked a public spat between the BOA and the global body. BOA chairman Colin Moynihan has sharply criticised WADA, saying it has failed to catch the world's major drug cheats and has dragged the anti-doping fight into a "dark age."
On Tuesday, former WADA chairman Dick Pound fired back at the BOA in a British newspaper column.
"Instead of trumpeting its moral rectitude on the question, the BOA should examine the situation from the perspective of the current legal inability to enforce its bylaw," he wrote in the Guardian.
Pound noted that the BOA had joined other members in supporting WADA and its rules, including the standard two-year ban for doping. He called the lifetime ban an "additional penalty ... over and above the code sanction."
"The BOA has resorted to demagoguery and, while blaming everyone else for the effects of its own legal errors, has attempted to wrap itself in a cloak of righteousness, a self-declared David, bravely alone in the face of Goliath," Pound wrote.
"The BOA has put itself in a position of being a rogue."