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Top sports body removes controversial 'double punishment' rule

All News 12:01 January 16, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- The country's top sports body on Monday decided to remove a controversial "double punishment" rule in the national team selection process.

Following its first board of directors meeting of 2017, the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) said it will no longer keep athletes who've served doping bans off their sport's national team for three years.

Under the rule put in place in 2015, swimming star Park Tae-hwan was initially left off the team for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Park served an 18-month doping ban that ended in March 2015.

Park successfully appealed his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which sided with the 2008 Olympic champion in July, barely in time for him to make the Olympic team.

The KSOC was panned for unfairly punishing Park twice for the same offense, and its critics said the principle of double punishment runs counter to international standards.

For months leading up to the CAS decision, the KSOC had defied mounting public pressure and maintained it wouldn't make any exception to its rules even for an iconic athlete like Park.

But after the ruling, the KSOC said it would look into possibly amending the rule.

The CAS decision on Park wasn't much of a surprise, given the precedent on double punishment.

In 2011, the CAS ruled against the International Olympic Committee's "Osaka Rule," which barred athletes with a doping suspension of at least six months from competing in the following Olympics. The CAS said the Osaka Rule, adopted in 2008, was "a violation of the IOC's own statute and is therefore invalid and unenforceable."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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