Categorized | News, Opinion


I have been concerned about the Lance Armstrong case from the beginning.  It got more concerned when I read an article on August 25 in Daytona Beach (here is the generic AP article) that said several interesting things.  It is actually not up to the US Anti-Doping Agency to take away Armstrong’s Tour de France titles.  That is the responsibility of either or both the Amaury Sport Organization (who runs the Tour) and the International Cycling Union (Cycling’s world organization).  But the USADA says that the World Anti-Doping Code requires both to act and strip Armstrong of his titles:

“USADA chief executive Travis Tygart described the investigation as a battle against a ‘win-at-all-cost culture,’ adding that the UCI was “bound to recognize our decision and impose it.”

“They have no choice but to strip the titles under the code.”

But the titles are not apparently the USADA to strip.  The UCI did not want to prosecute Armstrong:

The UCI and USADA have engaged in a turf war over who should prosecute allegations against Armstrong. The UCI event backed Armstrong’s failed legal challenge to USADA’s authority, and it cited the same World Anti-Doping Code in saying that it wanted to hear more from the U.S. agency.

“As USADA has claimed jurisdiction in the case, the UCI expects that it will issue a reasoned decision” explaining the action taken, the Switzerland-based organization said in a statement. It said legal procedures obliged USADA to fulfill this demand in cases “where no hearing occurs.”

I am no authority on this Anti-Doping Code but I cannot believe the UCI is absolutely bound by the USADA’s decision.  But I was not concerned enough to blog on it.  It may have to give it great weight but I would find it hard to believe the UCI has to rubber-stamp the USADA decision.  But the Anti-Doping Code is not a law but rather an international agreement between organizations to fight drugs in sports.  Here’s from the USADA website:

Many governments cannot be legally bound by a non-governmental document such as the Code. Governments have accordingly drafted, pursuant to the Code, an International Convention under the auspices of UNESCO, the United Nations body responsible for education, science, and culture, to allow formal recognition of WADA and the Code. The UNESCO-led International Convention against Doping in Sport was unanimously adopted by the 33rd UNESCO General Conference in Paris in October 2005 and went into force in February 2007. UNESCO Member States are now working to ratify it individually according to their respective constitutional jurisdictions.

So the Anti-Doping Code was  not enacted until 2003!  See here for the web page of the Anti-Doping Code.  But to make sure it can become law, the UN gets involved, with all its meddling, “stakeholders” and other Agenda 21 sounding nonsense.  So another bad UN (redundant!) treaty (one more treaty an constitutionalist President must repudiate) involved, called the International Convention against Doping in Sport.  Here’s the text of that unnecessary treaty!  But even the treaty does not REQUIRE an international sports authority to rubber-stamp the USADA decision.

Now, there is an article today that suggests the IOC cannot strip Armstrong of his bronze medal he won in 2000 in Sydney because of the statute of limitations in the Anti-Doping Code is eight years!  But the Code did not come into being until 2003 (as private law) and the treaty was not effective until 2007!  That is after all Armstrong’s Tour wins and certainly after the 2000 Olympics! Now time to blog!

The United States Constitution prohibits ex post facto laws in criminal cases.  But that does not customarily apply in civil cases.  But, how can the US Anti-Doping Agency regulate events before the Code came into being?  How can they recommend loss of titles before 2003?  Or 2007? Or 2009?  That seems to be what the Code says!

25.1 General Application of the 2009 Code
The 2009 Code shall apply in full after January 1, 2009
(the “Effective Date”).
25.2 Non-Retroactive Unless Principle of “Lex Mitior” Applies
With respect to any anti-doping rule violation case which is pending as of the Effective Date and any antidoping rule violation case brought after the Effective Date based on an anti-doping rule violation which occurred prior to the Effective Date, the case shall be governed by the substantive anti-doping rules in effect at the time the alleged anti-doping rule violation occurred unless the panel hearing the case
determines the principle of “lex mitior” appropriately applies under the circumstances of the case.

YES, it says in the Anti-Doping Code that it became effective in 2009!  (The principle of “lex mitior” is essentially a rule that says the athlete gets the benefit of the more lenient rule regardless of time.)  Perhaps the UCI should reject this finding…It’s simply too late!

That sounds like the USADA cannot recommend Armstrong lose his titles or his medals!  Is Armstrong right?  It is a witch-hunt?  I do not know but it is beginning to stink to high heaven.  That is fundamentally unjust, no matter what Armstrong did or did not do (and I am not sure who is right) and cannot bind two Swiss agencies:  The IOC and the UCI.  That is governed by Swiss law.

The morals of this story are:  Reject ALL UN treaties no matter how harmless they are (Senators, are you listening!  Vote NO on the Disabilities Treaty!) and also, let’s be careful about procedural appropriateness.  I do not know if Lance Armstrong has doped or not.  But he still has his titles and medals until the appropriate agency – the UCI and the Amaury Sport Organization says otherwise.

I can see Armstrong’s options now:  By not giving a statement to the USADA in arbitration, he avoids a potential perjury charge (another moral of this story:  Overcriminalization at the Federal level is bad!) and the issue may be decided by a more friendly body.  If the UCI says no, how can we enforce it?   Is Armstrong Tour winner in Europe but not in the USA, like the medieval anti-popes recognized by some nations but not others prior to the Council of Constance in 1415!  It could be a new kind of sports imperialism – one we are doing right now!

All I can say, Lance Armstrong is the seven-time winner of the Tour de France and a bronze medalist in 2000 as far as I am concerned.  If you want to protest this decision, go here for respectful comments!

UPDATE:  Apparently the 2009 revised Anti-Doping Code superceded the earlier 2003 code that became effective in 2004.  This explanatory paragraph in front (not part of the actual Code) explains it well but I am afraid clarifies nothing:

The World Anti-Doping Code was first adopted in 2003 and became effective in 2004. The enclosed incorporates revisions to the World
Anti-Doping Code that were approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency Foundation Board on November 17, 2007. The revised
World Anti-Doping Code is effective as of January 1, 2009.

My next blog will explain the evil behind the Code!  Hint:  It’s a sovereignty killer!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Eric G. says:

    You’re talking like Lance is being accused of breaking some kind of international law or something. He isn’t, he’s accused of breaking the rules of the sport of bicycle racing, which means he can’t compete in any other sport that adheres to the WADA code. This isn’t law this is rules, intended to allow athletes to be able to compete without having to take dangerous drugs. Cyclists died from EPO.

  2. I agree doping is bad. My issue is the procedure and what I am hearing from discerning reading is disturbing. Not to mention the UN angle.

    Thanks for coming by, Eric G., I really appreciate it. Come often.



  1. […] the pot laws will also say NO in part to yet another foreign treaty – used by outsiders to meddle in our business. Here are two […]

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Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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