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Lifetime ban may come next week

19 August 2006

By Gene Cherry

Olympic champion Justin Gatlin expects to learn next week what charges the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) may bring against him for a positive drugs test, his attorney has said.

"We are expecting that USADA will make its recommendation by mid next week," Cameron Myler told Reuters in a telephone interview from New York.

Gatlin announced last month he had tested positive for the male sex hormone testosterone or its precursors at a meeting in Kansas in April.

USADA officials would not comment on his case or a positive testosterone test by Tour de France winner Floyd Landis. That case is in its very early stages, Landis's attorney said.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has called for a life ban for Gatlin because this would be his second doping offence.

A USADA doping review panel has studied his case, and USADA will now decide what charges and sanctions it may bring against Gatlin.

If Gatlin is charged, as expected, he will have two choices. The joint 100 meters world record holder can either accept the sanction or challenge it and the charges through a lengthy arbitration process.

Gatlin was banned for two years in 2001 after testing positive for an amphetamine but was reinstated early by the IAAF, who accepted the result was due to medication prescribed to treat an attention deficit disorder.

The 24-year-old American has said he did not know how the positive test for testosterone occurred and that he had never knowingly used any banned substance.

He has not spoken publicly about the case.

Landis has offered a variety of reasons for his positive test during a series of interviews.

He also has denied knowingly taking performance enhancing drugs.

His attorney said it would likely be two to three weeks before proceedings began in his case.

"We are still waiting," Howard Jacobs told Reuters via telephone from his Los Angeles area office.

"The next step is the formal referral from the UCI ( the International Cycling Union) to USADA. Then they (USADA) send it to their doping review board. That has not happened."

"At least I have not received it (the official documents package) from USADA or the UCI."

"They (USADA) can't do anything until they get that."

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