By Alan Baldwin
LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - The British Olympic Association recognised on Monday it had lost its battle to keep former drug cheats out of the London Games but vowed to keep fighting for stricter sanctions in future.
BOA chairman Colin Moynihan declared his association deeply disappointed by a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling that the maximum punishment for a first offence could only be a two-year ban.
That decision opened the door to Olympic selection for British sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar, both hitherto subject to an effective lifetime Olympic ban under the terms of a BOA bye-law.
Describing the decision as one that will ultimately be seen as "a hollow victory for WADA", Moynihan said the BOA would now campaign vigorously to rewrite the statutes of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
"Today we must now move the discussion forward and we will engage and lead in a global campaign to seek fundamental and far-reaching reform to WADA," he told reporters at the BOA headquarters.
"We have already submitted a set of recommendations to WADA as part of the ongoing World Anti-Doping Code review process," added Moynihan.
"We will be actively involved in that process and will be vocal in it, principally calling for tougher and more realistic sanctions for serious first time doping offences; A minimum of four years including one Games."
Moynihan said the BOA would seek more 'proactive' and reliable testing methods and call for the autonomy of national Olympic committees to be respected in determining their selection policies.
Former world indoor 60 metres champion Chambers has served a two-year ban after testing positive for the designer steroid THG. Millar was also banned for two years after admitting taking the blood booster EPO.
Moynihan spoke of "difficult days" and quoted Britain's five times Olympic rowing gold medallist Steve Redgrave as saying a maximum two-year-ban was "tantamount to almost saying it's acceptable".
However he added that Chambers and Millar, if they met the eligibility criteria and were selected for London 2012 as looks likely, would be treated no differently to any other British squad member.
"There will be no two-tier team," he said.
"I will give absolutely maximum support to every athlete that is selected for Team GB."
Moynihan said he could not stop the crowd booing the controversial athletes at the Games and was aware of strong opinions among the athlete community.
"We will work with the athletes, their coaches and governing bodies, to make sure all the athletes work as one team and back each other to maximise the performance not just of individuals but the overall team," he said.
The CAS ruled that WADA and the BOA should be liable for their own costs, a decision Moynihan said would mean less of an outlay than the 100,000 pounds ($162,400) budgeted for by a body that needs every penny it can get. $1 = 0.6158 British pounds) (Editing by Alison Wildey)